Regional Flavors of Italy – Lazio

Over the past several weeks, Marist Italy has been posting about the gastronomical specialties of the 20 regions of Italy. These guides were created by Alessandra Bianco, Marist Italy MA, 2013-14.

lazioThis is the end, friends. We have reached our final region of Italy, and home to the capital city of Rome… Today we are in Lazio. This region is large and has a very diverse geographical and topographical makeup, which is reflected in the diversity of cuisine you can find here. While all roads may lead to Rome, some of the regional specialties might lead you a bit further afield in this region…

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Regional Flavors of Italy – Marche

Over the next several weeks, Marist Italy will be posting about the gastronomical specialties of the 20 regions of Italy. These guides were created by Alessandra Bianco, Marist Italy MA, 2013-14.

lemarcheThe region of Marche, located in Central Italy has a long coastline and a mountainous interior. The region has a largely agricultural heritage, though in recent years the focus has shifted to also include traditional crafts, which have evolved into thriving small businesses and brands that are now known internationally. This agricultural history, however, is reflected in the regional dishes that you can find here. Perhaps an end of summer seaside getaway to sample the local specialties is in order?

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I Bagni di Toscana

By Juliana Inglese, Marist Italy BA

Hot springsWhen thinking of Italy, I think of the rolling hills of Tuscany, the rustic architecture, and amazing food. I think most of us have this romanticised version of the Italian culture. However, there are so many other things in Italy that I would have never thought could coexist with the Italian culture; things like Sulphur Hot Springs.

Last weekend I took a trip to Bagni San Filippo, a small village of the Val D’Orcia in southern Tuscany. Historically known for its thermal water, Bagni San Filippo is the ideal destination for a relaxing and all natural spa vacation after finals. For nature lovers, the Fosso Bianco is the perfect place with a stream in the woods leading into several hot springs in a series of pools where where you can swim all year long. These limestone formations are known for their shapes, which have inspired the names such as ‘the white whale’ or ‘the glacier’. Because of its location on the slopes of Mount Amiata on the edge of Val d’Orcia, Bagni San Filippo is the ideal base for the all-natural sulphurous water, its sediments and mud which some locals even rubbed all over their body as a sort of mud bath. Acqua Passante is also a small water source downstream of the village known for its rich mineral and chemical composition. Some residents and tourists, for health reasons, even drink this water during meals. It is reached via a short walkway near the park Citerni. It was a beautiful scene in a relaxing atmosphere, however don’t forget to bring an old swim-suite and towel as well as putting your hair up because the sulphur smells a bit and dries out your hair and skin. Also you may want to bring along sun screen and lotion for before the sun burns your skin and afterwards for when its dry. Important: there is no ticket to pay, you can enter there for free!

This is also just one of the many hot spring locations in the Tuscany area. There is steamy, hot water that flows all over Tuscany. These hot springs, many of which are free, are open any time you want: day or night, winter or summer. Other springs are Saturnia, Bagno Vignoni, and Petriolo. It was very interesting to see this new side of the Italian culture and to see locals just hanging out in the springs and relaxing with us.

Photo by Juliana Inglese

Photo by Juliana Inglese

Regional Flavors of Italy – Campania

Over the next several weeks, Marist Italy will be posting about the gastronomical specialties of the 20 regions of Italy. These guides were created by Alessandra Bianco, Marist Italy MA, 2013-14.

campaniaOK, we’ve gotten to the big one! The region where pizza hails from – Campania, with its capital city, Naples. For Americans, the food in Campania is probably the closest to what is associated with “Italian food”, as many immigrants came from this region in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, bringing with them their culinary traditions and adapting them to their new homes. That said, does anything beat the original? Read on to find out more about the dishes that put Campania on the map.

 

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Regional Flavors of Italy – Calabria

Over the next several weeks, Marist Italy will be posting about the gastronomical specialties of the 20 regions of Italy. These guides were created by Alessandra Bianco, Marist Italy MA, 2013-14.

calabriaCalabria, easily identified as being the toe on the boot, does share one border with Basilicata, but it is surrounded on the other sides by both the Tyrrhenian and Ionian Seas, though only 3.2 kilometers (2 miles) separate it from Sicily at the narrowest point of the Strait of Messina. An extremely mountainous region, the cuisine reflects that with simple yet hearty and tasty dishes. Continue reading

Museum and a Show

By Isaac Carreon, Marist Italy MA 2014-15

Palazzo Vecchio from below. Photo by Allison Boyd, MA '14

Palazzo Vecchio from below. Photo by Allison Boyd, MA ’14

Naturally, museums are places of scholarly pursuit and to some degree a visitor is expecting to learn something they did not previously know. One of the unique facets of museums is their dexterity of how a visitor may learn a museum’s content. Always trying to separate themselves from the ridged approach of taking a college course on a topic, museums often offer visual interpretations and in most cases, the freedom to view any object in no particular order. In this sense, learning in a museum is a very relaxed and hopefully enjoyable pursuit. Pushing this feature further in a more entertaining way is Museum Theatre, something that the members of Palazzo Vecchio’s staff are masters of.

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Regional Flavors of Italy – Molise

Over the next several weeks, Marist Italy will be posting about the gastronomical specialties of the 20 regions of Italy. These guides were created by Alessandra Bianco, Marist Italy MA, 2013-14.

MoliseMolise is a small region in south-eastern Italy that was a part of a larger region called Abruzzo e Molise until the early 1960’s, when it was split into two. We wrote about Abruzzo here, but today we will focus on the smaller, but no less delicious Molise region, which is an ancestral home of your intrepid blog editor. The food here reflects the region’s highly agricultural economy, and though it shares many dishes with Abruzzo, the region puts its own unique flair on the cuisine. Continue reading

Vintage and Outlet Shopping in Florence

By Rosanna Sumera, Marist Italy MA 2014-15

Photo courtesy of the Dolce Vita Facebook page

Photo courtesy of the Dolce Vita Facebook page

Who doesn’t love shopping? Many will admit to standing outside the Louis Vuitton and Prada window displays with secret desires to purchase every item in stock. That being said, unfortunately at every turn in Florence there are luxury brand stores clearly out of any student’s budget. Does that mean we are left to only shop at budget stores like OVS and H&M? What if you want something a little bit different than your friends? A little bit more unique to your personal style? If you love designer brands, and are looking for that special statement accessory or simply love wearing vintage clothes, Florence has several vintage stores throughout the city that offer a wide selection of brand name merchandise. Mentioned below are only two of the several options in the Marist Italy office area worth mentioning.

On Via del Giglio 39, Dolce Vita (see their Facebook page here) is a moderately sized vintage store that offers a variety of clothes and accessories for men and women. In its window displays, the store clearly highlights all of its designer clothes and accessories, but do not expect that to reflect in the inventory inside! Within, there is more vintage and less designer, though this is not necessarily a bad thing! If you are shopping with friends, it creates the perfect situation of there being something for everyone.

On Via dei Conti, Desiivintage (see their Facebook page here) sports three metal chairs painted in the colors of the Italian flag, one chair per color respectively. This store is a designer lover’s dream. It is about a fourth of the size of Dolce Vita but has a much more extensive collection of clothes, shoes, and accessories made by designers like Chanel, Prada, Louis Vuitton and YSL, to name a few. The merchandise is in immaculate condition and if you question any kind of authenticity, the owners are happy to share they receive much their merchandise from sample sales.

If buying pre-owned clothing and accessories is not your thing, there are two outlet malls approximately 30 to 40 minutes from the city center. Both outlets offer shuttles to and from Florence at reasonable prices. Two worth mentioning are: the Mall and Barberino Designer Outlet.

The first outlet is called The Mall. Located about 20 kilometers south of Florence, it is open Monday to Sunday from 10:00am to 7:00pm, no pausa! The easiest and cheapest way to get to The Mall is to take a SITA bus that takes you directly to the mall from the Florence bus station.

The other outlet located on the outskirts of Florence is the Barberino Designer Outlet. About 35 kilometers north of Florence, it is bigger than The Mall and has several more stores, all of which are not designer. Barberino Outlet is open Monday to Sunday from 10:00am to 8:00pm. There is also a shuttle to the mall from the train station, but make sure to keep track of shuttles times as there are limited shuttles to and from the outlet. It is important to note that the round trip ticket on this shuttle bus is €15.

Last, but certainly not least, remember that when in smaller boutiques, greet employees with a simple “ciao” or “buon giorno/buona sera” upon entering and leaving as is customary. It is amazing where a simple “hello” or “good afternoon” can lead, whether it be an amazing story or an epic discount. Happy shopping!

Regional Flavors of Italy – Liguria

Over the next several weeks, Marist Italy will be posting about the gastronomical specialties of the 20 regions of Italy. These guides were created by Alessandra Bianco, Marist Italy MA, 2013-14.

liguriaAhhh Liguria… Home of the famous Cinque Terre. The only thing more amazing than the views from the hiking trails of Cinque Terre is the food. Located on the rocky north-western coastline of Italy, the cuisine in this region is rich in seafood (naturally, with its abundant coastline and with a capital city of Genoa, a famous port-town), but this article actually will not focus on the seafood options – those are all amazing! This article instead will feature the non-seafood options, which are numerous and delicious.  Continue reading

Regional Flavors of Italy – Friuli-Venezia Giulia

Over the next several weeks, Marist Italy will be posting about the gastronomical specialties of the 20 regions of Italy. These guides were created by Alessandra Bianco, Marist Italy MA, 2013-14.

friuliveneziagiuliaFriuli-Venezia Giulia is perhaps not a region of Italy that you’re very familiar with, but I assure you its cuisine is among the all-stars of Italian food. This region in the extreme north-eastern part of Italy, which shares a border with the Veneto region, Austria, and Slovenia, as well as coastline on the Adriatic Sea, has a unique history, starting as a Roman colony, then going back and forth as property of Venice and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and then as a part of Italy (though even that status was in flux in the early 20th Century). This incredible history has had an impact on its cuisine that you can see today through sampling regional specialties.  Continue reading