Category: Blog

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.

The Coffee in Italy

The Coffee in Italy

For coffee drinkers, there’s little better than enjoying a coffee in Italy.

Just remember, Italian coffee isn’t like coffee in your local Starbucks.

Read our complete guide on how to drink coffee like an Italian, to learn when, where, what, and how to drink coffee in Italy.

From a regular “Caffè” to a cappuccino, a caffè macchiato to a caffè latte, coffee is ubiquitous in Italy but there is a considerable amount of regional difference.

Of all the coffee-crazy cities in Italy, Trieste has, by our humble reckonijng, the finest coffee and cafe culture.

Its long history as a tax-free port brought some of the first coffee beans to the city during Europe’s first coffee craze in the middle ages.

Today Italian coffee king Illy has its headquarters there and the city still imports many other brands as well.

The Iconic Mona Lisa

The Iconic Mona Lisa

Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is a painting that hardly needs an introduction, but perhaps a few words on why you should see it – and you definitely should – will whet your appetite for an image that is so ubiquitous it often seems a little commonplace.

The Mona Lisa is not the most artistically accomplished painting in Louvre, nor the most beautiful, it’s not the most emotive or even the most awe inspiring.

He painted the Mona Lisa with a technique of his own devising called “Sfumato” in which he layered coats of semi-transparent paint washes one on top of another to create a sense of three dimensions using light and dark.

Mona Lisa’s smile has been the subject of countless works of art criticism, mostly because of the ambivalence that it suggests.

Finally, and more prosaically, the Mona Lisa was stolen in 1911 and not recovered for a full two years – leading the world to believe one of its finest works of artistic heritage was lost forever.

Who was Saint Valentine? The strange but the true story

Who was Saint Valentine? The strange but the true story

The better question is ‘who were?’ Depending on who’s counting, there are between 12 and 14 Saint Valentines, including a Spanish hermit and a woman – Valentina.

As far as anyone can tell, the Saint Valentine of Valentine’s Day was one of two guys preaching the good word in Rome in the third century. One of these two was martyred on February 14th 269, thus giving us the date for his eponymous day. After he was killed, Valentine’s remains sat in the Catacombs of San Valentino for a while before moving to Santa Maria in Cosmedin where they were visited by pilgrims for many years.

So Valentine’s Day is basically a sham invented by a poet in order to make his lines rhyme? Not exactly.

Shortly after Chaucer mentioned love on Valentine’s Day, real life lovers began to send each other love poems on February 14th. To put that another way, people have been writing valentines to their loved ones for over 500 years, so even if there’s no direct connection to a guy who was murdered horribly by ancient Roman pagans, it’s still part of a serious legacy of love.

The amazing italian Lasagna

An iconic food: The italian Lasagna

Lasagna is a wide, flat pasta noodle, usually baked in layers in the oven.

Traditionally lasagna wasn’t made with tomatoes; only ragù, béchamel sauce, and cheese, usually mozzarella or Parmigiano Reggiano or a combination of the two.

Even today, only a bit of tomato or tomato sauce is used in a traditional ragu, unlike most Italian-American dishes, which are basically swimming in tomato sauce.

This concentrates the flavor of the meat but sometimes is a little jarring for American palates.

Eataly World, the first Italian food theme park

Eataly World, the first Italian food theme park

In eight months, if everything goes as planned, the world will have its first ‘Disneyland’ of Italian food.

And the thing is serious, because the signature behind the project is the famous gourmet chain Eataly, whose locations in New York, Chicago, Milan, Tokyo or Dubai, among other great cities in the world, have been delighting those who appreciate a good fresh pasta, a reggiano parmigiano, a good olive oil, some dried tomatoes or any of the fantastic products offered by one of the most famous and consumed cuisines on a global level: great Italian cuisine.

The place will be called Eataly World, have 8 hectares and from September expects to receive about six million tourists a year, of which about two million, according to calculations preliminaries will be foreigners.

The submerged bronze statue of Jesus Christ

The submerged bronze statue of Jesus Christ

Did you know? In Italy, there is a submerged bronze statue of Jesus Christ of 2.5 metres tall.

Christ of the Abyss (Italian: Il Cristo degli Abissi) is a submerged bronze statue of Jesus Christ, the original of which is located in the Mediterranean Sea, off San Fruttuoso, between Camogli and Portofino on the Italian Riviera.

Various other casts of the statue are located in other places worldwide, both underwater and in churches and museums.


Where to ski: Best for… snowboarders

Where to ski: Best for… snowboarders

Livigno is often overlooked by non-Europeans in favor of fancy Cortina or traditional Courmeyeur, but the remote resort has a lot to offer-and for cheap: Duty-free Livigno is one of the most budget-friendly resorts in Italy, both on and off the slopes!

Livigno has 110km of slopes that range from beginner to black-diamond abilities.

The nearest train station to Livigno is in Tirano, about 70km from Livigno, so a bus or taxi will have to complete the journey for you.

Why is Verona the city of love on Valentine's Day?

Why is Verona the city of love on Valentine’s Day?

Did you know? Every Valentine’s Day, the Italian city of Verona, where Romeo and Juliet lived, receives about 1,000 letters addressed to Juliet.

Also, you can visit Casa di Giulietta near Piazza delle Erbe and view all the letters to Juliet that have been sent over the years.

This Shakespeare’s novel transcended the meaning of love through the years and the passionate ones identify their love stories as Romeo and Juliet had.

Additional tip: Cupid was associated with Valentine’s Day because he is the Roman god of desire, erotic love, and affection. In Latin, Cupid means “amor”, which translates in English to “love”.