Author: amicyber

Italian Labor Day

Italian Labor Day

This is another national holiday, May 1st marks Italy’s national Labor Day.

On this day, even more than the other secular national holidays, expect major museums to be closed and limited choices for public transportation. Italians are off work en masse and the weather is usually nice, meaning it’s a busy weekend for popular destinations throughout the country.

For travelers, this day would be difficult due the many closed stores. Regardless, any day on Italy’s Spring is nice to walk through the parks or villages.

April 25: Italian Liberation Day (some closures), also St. Mark’s Day, Venice

April 25: Italian Liberation Day (some closures), also St. Mark’s Day, Venice

April 25 is the Festa della Liberazione, celebrating the end of WWII in Italy, meaning the end of the Fascist regime and Nazi occupation of Italy.

You’ll see this date on many street signs throughout Italy, and today it stands as a national public holiday, meaning most stores will be closed.

It also happens to be the feast day of St. Mark, the patron saint of Venice.

Venetians celebrate their beloved saint with a gondolier regatta and a huge party in Saint Mark’s Square.

Seasonal eating guide in Italy: Spring

Seasonal eating guide in Italy: Spring

What’s in season: fava beans (fave), asparagus (asparagi), artichokes (carciofi), zucchini flowers (fiori di zucca), spring peas (piselli), leeks (porri), beets (barbabietole), beans (fagioli), garlic (aglio), lemons (limoni), kiwi (kiwi), strawberries (fragole), cherries (ciliegie)

Vegetable gardens burst into bloom when spring comes around and eating in Italy enters a sort of extended party phase that lasts through the fall. Delicate vegetables like asparagus, zucchini flowers, and spring peas are classic spring fare.

Many more fruits also start to come into season, most notably, strawberries, which flavor everything from tarts to gelato, and are also delicious all on their own. Spring marks the end of heavy root dishes and the start of lighter meals, prepared fresh and with care.

Our Piccola Fontana's Caprese Salad

Our Piccola Fontana’s Caprese Salad

Insalata Caprese is a simple salad of fresh mozzarella and tomatoes topped with basil and a splash of balsamic. A perfect summer appetizer or first course, especially when tomatoes are at their peak.

If you asked sometimes, the Caprese Salad have 340 Calories, 14g Fat, 40g Carbs, and 12g Protein. This salad is a good choice for those who are on a diet and want to eat something very delicous at any restaurant. Choose a good wine, and that’s perfect match.

La Piccola Fontana restaurant knows for sure how to make a traditional Caprese Salad. Book your table calling to this number: +1 787-801-1040

 

Easter Sunday and the Scoppio del Carro fireworks, Florence

Easter Sunday and the Scoppio del Carro fireworks, Florence

Easter Sunday is celebrated with various parades and events throughout all of Italy, but one of the most memorable is surely the Scoppio del Carro in Florence. Literally, the “explosion of the cart”, it’s a folk tradition of Florence from the era of the First Crusade, when supposedly, a Florentine was the first man through the breach in the sacking of Jerusalem.

When the hero returned, he used stone fragments from the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem to start a Sacred Fire that he then paraded through the city in a beautiful chariot. Today this Italian festival reenacts the scene in its entirety. On Easter Sunday a large wagon filled with fireworks departs from Porta al Prato, hauled by a team of white oxen with soldiers, musicians, and others following in 15th-century costumes.

A fire is started from the historic stone and then used to light a string that leads to the cart outside, at the same moment Giotto’s belltower bells ring out. The entire firework show usually lasts about 20 minutes and is said to bring good luck!

Celebration of Italian wine

Celebration of Italian wine

Although Italian wine labels can look a little confusing at first, they’re pretty simple, and read a lot like French wine labels.

Depending on the wine, there should also be one of the below labels: DOCG, DOC, IGT, or VdT. Know your DOC from your DOCG from your While it might look like alphabet soup, these different labels show the wine’s classification.

In Italy, the strictest classification is DOCG; these wines have to be made in DOCG-protected zones and adhere to stringent regulations.

The second-strictest classification is DOC. Like DOCG wines, DOC wines have to be made in specific zones and with particular regulations.

If you’re navigating a wine store or a wine menu on your own, a few little words can be a big help.

Not to mention, knowing the Italian makes it fun! The most important word? “Vino”, of course! To describe what kind of wine you want, just put the adjective after the noun.

“Vino rosso”: red wine “Vino bianco”: white wine “Vino rosato”: rosé wine “Vino amabile”: a medium-sweet wine “Vino dolce”: sweet wine “Vino secco”: dry wine “Vino abboccato”: semi-dry wine “Vino corposo”: a full-bodied wine “Vino aromatico”: aromatic wine “Vino frizzante”: semi-sparkling wine As for reading the label, “Azienda” means estate, “Anno” is the year, and “Produttore” is the producer.

Differences between Arancini & Supplì

Differences between Arancini & Supplì

The Sicilian people will be having some stern words with us for combining their beloved arancino with it’s Roman cousins, supplì, and vice versa but the fact remains that when in Italy you should try at least one type of freshly-fried rice ball.

These starch bombs appear in bars, restaurants, and market stalls all over Italy, but if you are going to order one, it helps to know the difference. The Sicilian arancino is often larger, and either conical or circular in shape. In fact, its name means “small orange.” It is typically filled with ragu and some sort of cheese, with optional veggies like peas, mushrooms, or eggplant.

You will also find specialty arancini like carbonara, though purists tend to turn up their noses at these newfangled inventions. Supplì are a Roman specialty usually found in pizzerias and as antipasti. They are oblong in shape and traditionally contain only rice, tomato sauce, and a large piece of mozzarella in the middle.

The iconic Italian Gelato

The iconic Italian Gelato

No trip to Italy is complete without gelato! If you’re tempted to have a scoop a day don’t worry, it’s totally normal to eat gelato on a regular basis in Italy, especially in the summer.

Though gelato translates to ‘ice cream,’ it’s not quite the same. The low-fat content means that gelato is served a bit warmer and tends to melt in your mouth faster, it also intensifies the flavor and gives it a more velvety texture.

Finally, good gelato isn’t made for long-term storage.

So how can you know if it’s the good stuff or not? When seeking out fresh, artisanal gelato there are a few things to look out for.

The meaning of "digestivo" and how it is

The meaning of “digestivo” and how it is

The term “digestivo” or “digestive” does not refer to one drink, but a class of drinks that are enjoyed after a big meal with the aim of settling the stomach and helping you feel not-quite-so-full.

Drinking them dates back to the Middle Ages, when people all over Europe believed in the medicinal properties of alcohol mixed with sugar and herbs. Although the doctors are still out on the medical benefits of drinking medium to strong liquors after a meal, the fact remains that you cannot say you have enjoyed a real Italian meal unless you top it off with a shot of the hard stuff.

Popular digestives include limoncello, grappa, amaro, cynar, amaretto, and if you’re feeling brave, sambuca which has enough alcohol to make a horse giddy. If you step off the beaten track in Italy you will also discover all types of nice post dinner tipples made from local fruits and herbs. Don’t be shy, they are always worth a sip.

Do you know the Fiorentina Steak?

Do you know the Fiorentina Steak?

A bistecca fiorentina, or Florentine T-bone steak, covers all of the characteristics of Italy’s best dishes: a specific cut of meat from a specific cow prepared in a very specific way all within the confines of a specific region.

In the case of the enormous bistecca fiorentina, it’s a T-bone steak cut thick from the loin of a Chianina cow raised in Tuscany.

The Florentines tend to prefer the higher cuts, nearer to the rib cage, which contain the fillet known as bistecca nella costola, whereas beyond Florence in Tuscany you’ll likely get a bistecca nel filetto, a lower cut that tends to be smooth and more melt-in-your-mouth.

The Florentines argue that the bistecca nella costola comes from a more used muscle, meaning it’s more flavorful.