"We Three", as we call ourselves, want to wish all of our Grand Voyage Italy amici a very Merry Christmas and a Safe, Healthy, Prosperous and Happy New Year. We want to thank you all for your interest in what we offer in our little corner of Mondo Italiano.
Much like preparing for the Holiday Season itself, what we do here is an act of love and faith: Love of everything Italian and the faith that we can live la Vita Bella no matter where we live, whether or not we've ever been to Italy, or with hopes that someday we can visit la Bel Paese for the first time, for the tenth time or perhaps for the rest of our lives.
So, for this Natale, embrace your family and friends, forgive any transgressions of the past, share the heritage of both the food and traditions; like the Night of the Seven Fishes or playing tombola with grandparents and the little ones, or having some panettone with espresso on Christmas morning while the lids open their presents. Remember those who have gone before us and who inspired and passed along these traditions. Just don't forget to score those chestnuts with a sharp knife before roasting!
As if Alberobello and the trulli region of Puglia needed any more publicity (bringing in far too many tourists), Disney is going to be broadcasting a new TV cartoon series about the pointed roofed houses--Trulli Tales.
Trulli Tales, The Adventures of Trullalleri is a new animated series for children, set in Alberobello. It will be broadcast from December 11 in different parts of the world including Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
The series is cute, in the same animation style as My Little Poney for younger kids, and is a mix of cooking school, enchanted kingdom and superhero, something like Teen Titans. The series' four friends are the main characters... Ring, Sun, Zip and Stella, who are summoned by Nonnatrulla to cook the recipes from her magical cookbook. Always in their way, the sinister plans of the funny and messy mischievous Copperpot.
Basically, the running plot is this: An enchanted kingdom at the foot of an ancient olive grove, a secret recipe book about to disappear forever, a baker and four small young apprentices who attend the famous School of Magic and Cooking in Trulliland where their cooking utensils are magic wands, and the recipes reveal emotions as they run up against normal childhood problems.
For me, I'm glad my son is 14 and beyond this stuff (not as cute as Max & Ruby, Rolie Polie Olie or Peep which he grew up watching). Besides, the video clip I've seen looks a bit simplistic and not very challenging for younger audiences. I also have a problem with Nonnatrulla saying "et voilà" like a French chef instead of speaking Italian ("Ecco qua"), or local dialect. And why is the secret lever to open the hidden cellar kitchen a French baguette?
Still, it's a cute interpretation of the real life trulli of Alberobello and a cartoon for little ones...
The early 2016 news that Cinque Terre would be imposing caps on the number of tourists allowed to access the picturesque towns was "just a provocation," admits Patrizio Scarpellini, director of Cinque Terre National Park, but “it had reached a point that we had to do something.”
That something — a dramatic statement to the press by the park’s president, Vittorio Alessandro — has raised awareness of the problems faced by this UNESCO Heritage Site, but the solution is much more complex than closing a door. Cinque Terre is a stretch of particularly rugged coastline in the Italian region of Liguria, halfway between the busy ports of Genova and Livorno. Day-trippers from the cruises that stop here stream into the five towns of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso, which grow up from the sea into a steep hillside that has been transformed, over the centuries, into terraced parcels of agricultural land.
Carve out a spot along Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue for a family-friendly celebration filled with colorful floats and rousing musical performances. The parade honors Italian-Americans’ contributions to New York City and draws around million spectators and 35,000 marchers. The parade travels from 44th Street to 72nd Street and marching bands will perform along its length, and there’s also a “red carpet” area between 67th and 69th Streets for stage acts—special passes are needed to get up close. For more information, visit columbuscitizensfd.org.
Pittsburgh, PA Saturday, October 7th
The Saturday before Columbus Day always turns Pittsburgh’s Little Italy into one big celebration. And even though the old Bloomfield neighborhood is affectionately known as “Little Italy,” there’s actually nothing small about the annual Columbus Day parade. Thousands line Liberty Avenue to see everyone from Pittsburgh politicians to pint-sized pageant queens. The 32nd annual parade will step off at 11 a.m. at Bloomfield Liberty Avenue.
Chicago, IL Monday, October 9th
For nearly half a century, the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans has sponsored Chicago’s Columbus Day celebration. Festivities begin with a mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii and a wreath laying ceremony at the Columbus Statue located in Arrigo Park, followed by the parade. The parade of over 150 floats, bands and marching units travels down State Street, from Wacker Drive to VanBuren Street. Many prominent Italian-Americans have been honorary parade Grand Marshals, including Ernest Borgnine and Tommy LaSorda.
Cleveland, OH Monday, October 9th
The 65th annual Cleveland Columbus Day Parade will step off at noon on Monday, Oct. 9. The parade will take place in Little Italy, where it moved in 2003 after decades downtown. The 15th parade in Little Italy will begin at Murray Hill and Cornell Roads and proceed north to East 125th Street and Fairview, then turn north on Fairview and march back to Mayfield past Holy Rosary Church. The parade will feature more than 100 groups, including marching bands from Mayfield, Garfield Heights, Holy Name and other high schools. The Knights of Columbus, local Italian associations and Little Italy Montessori school will also march in the parade.
San Francisco, CA Sunday, October 8th
Columbus Day’s three-day holiday weekend delivers San Francisco’s oldest civic event — the nation’s first Italian-American Columbus Day Parade. Introduced in 1869, the free event has continued growing, with colorful marching bands, floats and plenty of people waving red, white and green flags to celebrate Italian pride. The Italian Heritage Parade kicks off from Fisherman’s Wharf beginning at 12:30 p.m. and finishes in North Beach on Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017. Spectators are treated to dozens of handcrafted parade floats from Bay Area businesses, community groups, Italian organizations, local high school Italian clubs and marching bands. Traditional Italian musicians and performance artists led by grand marshals are on show, as well as special character appearances by Christopher Columbus, Queen Isabella and her court.
Baltimore, MD Sunday, October 8, 2017
This is the 127th Columbus Commemoration in Baltimore. The parade begins 2 pm Parade on Key Highway and ends in Little Italy. Join Baltimore's Italian community in the longest-running parade and commemoration in the country to honor Christopher Columbus... Bring the family! PARADE CHAIRMAN: Al Massa, firstname.lastname@example.org PARADE DAY COORDINATOR: Gina Piscopo, email@example.com
Tourism in Italy boomed in summer 2017, with an increase in visitor numbers expected to continue throughout the colder months. In total, almost 50 million people spent the night at an Italian hotel during June, July, and August this year.
The exact number was 48.3 million, according to figures shared by Italian hotel trade association Federalberghi and the Cultural Ministry, and represented a two percent increase compared to last year.
On top of that, a further three million spent the night at an Airbnb accommodation, a huge 20 percent increase year-on-year. Seaside resorts reported a dramatic rise in visitors, with 16 percent more people visiting beach resorts this summer than in the same period in 2016.
But tourists were also attracted by culture, and museums saw a 12.5 percent increase in visitor numbers, with Puglia leading the way.
In Italy, natural disasters are fairly common... Earthquakes, wildfires, landslides, floods, even volcanoes erupting. Americans give selflessly to these causes to help. Now our country needs help.
I'm putting out a call to Italian citizens and Italian-Americans to dig into their pockets--even if it's only a small amount--and donate.
Over 50 inches of rain and still counting... dam waters being released into rivers and creeks... homes, business and even rescue centers are being flooded.
It's time to do something!
Here's where you can help... Click the links below.
If you have a home in Texas or a nearby state that you can offer to a displaced family for free, AirBnB is waiving fees and has a special link to set up your offer.
Here's how you can prevent being scammed while trying to donate to help victims of Hurricane Harvey... Contact Charity Navigator. They list all legitimate charities along with ratings of each that are taking part in the recovery effort.
Are there Italians in Texas?
Of course there are. Italian heritage has spread all over the world. The 1990 census placed the number at 441,256, while the 2000 census put the number of Tex-Italians at 363,354. Although that shows a drop, there has been an influx of people rushing to Texas in recent years to fill jobs, so the number may be considerably higher. Houston especially has a large Italian-American population of nearly 100,000 and Dallas over 60,000.
Like Christopher Columbus himself, Italians were often in the employ of the Spanish court during that early period of discovery. Some soldiers of fortune came from northern Italy, but the larger numbers were from Sicily and Naples, provinces that were under the Spanish crown at various times. Francisco Vásquez de Coronado's trek across the High Plains in 1541 included soldiers with the Italian surnames of Loro, Napolitano and Romano, among others.
When Texas became settled territory in the late 1700s, individual Italian merchants began to arrive. Among them was Vincente Micheli who came to Nacogdoches from Brescia. In 1836, when Texas won independence from Mexico, Italian-born Prospero Bernardi was one of the Texans who fought at the Battle of San Jacinto. The older cities of San Antonio, Nacogdoches and Victoria have Italian families who date back to this period.
In 1880 Italian farmers settled in the flood-prone area of the Brazos Valley between Hearne and Bryan--by 1905 the town of Bryan had 3,000 Italians. In the same period of time, the Texas Pacific Coal Company hired thousands of Italian immigrants to work in their mines in the Fort Worth area. By 1910 Burleson and Robertson Counties also had large numbers of Italian residents. The Qualias Val Verde Winery in Del Riois the oldest licensed winery in Texas and was started by Frank and Mary Qualia from Milan.
Experience the Italian lifestyle, heritage, cuisine, art, music, language and traditions, while learning how our own Grand Voyage to Italy affected our lives back at home--per sempre--forever. Andiamo, take a Grand Voyage with us...