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Archive for January, 2015

Our Italian Journey – Part 2: Florence Posted by on Jan 29, 2015

Text and photos by guest blogger Bill Auge. Find Part 1: Venezia HERE  Ponte Vecchio con i passanti (with the passers by) The Italo train left la Stazione di Venezia Santa Lucia and glided through the flat agricultural plain of Veneto, through the Appennino Mountains toward Firenze, reaching the impressive speed of 300 km an…

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The Tree of Life – Part 2 Posted by on Jan 28, 2015

essiccare = to dry/desiccate sbucciatura = to de-husk/peel metato/seccatoio = chestnut drying barn farina di castagne = chestnut flour gràfié e bigungia = dialect name for a large pestle and mortar malàta = hemp sack used for removing the husk from chestnuts vasùra  = tray for winnowing the chestnuts, from vassoio = tray In part…

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A Poem For January Posted by on Jan 26, 2015

Here’s a lovely poem by Giacomo di Michele (1280-1332), better known as Folgòre da San Gimignano, from the beautiful Tuscan town of San Gimignano, near Siena. Folgòre was a knight and courtier who wrote in the Tuscan language just before the time of Dante. He is famous for his set of sonnets known as La…

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Our Italian Journey – Part 1: Venezia Posted by on Jan 22, 2015

Photos and text by Bill Auge with an intro by Geoff This autumn we had the very great pleasure of meeting Bill Auge a long time reader of ours, and his wife Victoria. Recently retired, Bill and Victoria took a long anticipated trip to Europe, with Italy as their main goal. Serena and myself spent…

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The Tree of Life – Part 1 Posted by on Jan 21, 2015

Castagno = Sweet Chestnut Tree Castagna (plural castagne)  =  Sweet Chestnut/s Castagneto = Chestnut Plantation Up until just a few decades ago, the humble castagna was a vital part of the Italian contadino’s (peasant’s) diet. Il castagno, often referred to in times past as l’albero del pane (the bread tree) proliferated around small towns and…

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Helpful Labels – The Car Posted by on Jan 19, 2015

In our previous ‘Helpful Labels’ posts we looked at short, useful phrases which could be made into labels and placed strategically in relevant places around  the house. Today we are going out and about in the car. Sticking labels all over the interior of your car may not be very practical, so we’ll leave it…

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Castagnaccio – Tuscan Chestnut Pancake Posted by on Jan 15, 2015

Large parts of central and northern Italy are covered with castagneti (chestnut woods), and for centuries chestnuts were the main source of food for the contadini (peasants) during the winter. This is reflected in the large variety of chestnut dishes, both sweet and savoury, which are still popular today. The traditional Tuscan pancake made from…

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