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Archive for June, 2016

At The Tourist Information Office in Italy Posted by on Jun 29, 2016

Planning a trip to Italy? What might you want to ask when you find yourself at the local tourist information office? Here’s a short dialogue that will help you with the basics. N.B. Although this dialogue is set in Lucca it contains a lot of vocabulary which can be used in any tourist information office…

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Estate Posted by on Jun 27, 2016

It’s taken its time getting here, but it seems that the summer has finally arrived! Windows open, the scent of gelsomino (jasmine) fills the house. All seven cats are out sunning themselves on the patio or chasing lizards. The laughter of the children who have come to observe the bees drinking from the fontana in…

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Luna Di Fragola Posted by on Jun 24, 2016

Last week I published an article about the gnomone in the Duomo di Firenze, which casts an image of the sun onto an indicator incised into the floor of the cathedral at around midday during the period of the summer solstice. This aroused my curiosity about the phenomenon of the solstice in general, and led…

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The Interview Posted by on Jun 22, 2016

The other afternoon, as I was browsing through some second hand books, I found one by Mario Tobino, entitled Il Deserto Della Libia (The Libyan Desert). Mario Tobino (1910- 1991) was not just a famous prizewinning author, but also a notable psychiatrist who lived and worked for 35 years in the psychiatric hospital of Lucca…

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Astronomy In The Cathedral Posted by on Jun 20, 2016

Il Duomo di Firenze, also known as La Chiesa Di Santa Maria Del Fiore, is one of the world’s most famous cathedrals. Last Year, the roughly 1.3 million tourists who visited it will certainly have admired its amazing cupola, designed by Brunelleschi, and built between 1418 and 1436. Brunelleschi’s cupola, the world’s largest masonry dome…

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Italian Chestnut Bread Posted by on Jun 17, 2016

Here’s an unusual recipe from the Appennino Tosco Emiliano region, where chestnuts were the main staple food for centuries, il pane di farina di castagne (chestnut bread). This recipe involves the use of the vocabulary we explored in our last article: What Is Pasta? Note how the words pasta, impastare and impasto are used in…

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What is pasta? Posted by on Jun 15, 2016

What is pasta? Asked that question, most non Italians would probably think of spaghetti, lasagne and the many other variations of dried or semi dried dough which are commonly referred to by that name. But what is pasta, really? In English, there are various ways to translate the word pasta, the most literal being ‘paste’…

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