Monday, April 28, 2008

Festa della Liberazione

On April 25th, Italians celebrate their freedom from the Nazis. By celebration, I mean food and family. For us American students, family means the Italian friends we've made and food means pasta. We gathered together at a friends country home in the hills of Tuscania for Spaghetti con frutti di mare (muscles and baby shrimp).

Our original plan was to conclude the evening on the beach with a falò, bonfire (not to be confused with fallo, pronounced deceptively similar), but our idea was squelched by the tramontana north wind ever plaguing the area this time of year.

Spiaggia di Tarquinia The Beach in Tarquinia

Regardless, It was therapy to my Southern California soul to smell the salt air and hear waves, no matter how piddly they were.

Mia Famiglia Italia My Italian Family

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Primavera in Tuscania

Monday April 14th 2008 ~ Reflections written on a park bench

A soft Spring breeze touches my arms with a slight coolness, ruffling the pages of the Bible open on my lap. The pungent smell of freshly trimmed grass arrests my nose. A gravelly old voice drifts over the park as its owner walks steadily on the path, discoursing with his companion, probably about yesterday's election. I've lost count of the rounds they made. What a glorious day to be class free and in Italy.

I found it hard to untangle myself from the pudgey covers and plot of my book this morning after I had settled back into bed when breakfast was over. The lure of a peaceful Spring day compelled me out of Sierra's fictional world and into the shower. Slipping my bare feet into the straps of sandals mom had brought me, I reveled in the fact that I could pull on capris and a short sleeve blouse.

A tour group has just piled into the opposite end of the park, admiring the stunning valley below San Pietro. Mr. Mower can't be inconvenienced by the newcomers and continues to noisily cut the green spaces down to size. A group of young men are forced to roll out of comfortable formation on the lawn as the machine rumbles close to their backs, flinging mulch into the conversation.

Large marshmallow clouds have seemingly appeared out of nowhere, creeping stealthily into the azure landscape above me; however, such pure fluff is anything but threatening. I'm hoping some of the sun's golden rays will choose to linger in my darkening tresses.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Gnocchi is a potatoe pasta similar to mini potatoe dumplings. Loredana showed my mom and I how to make homemade gnocchi a few weeks ago. It's very simple and requires only a few ingredients. Here is the recipe in pictures.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Spring Break ~ France

Ever since high school, when I started having francophilia tendencies, I've dreamed about going to Paris. Well, it's finally happening! I fly our of Rome Ciampino tomorrow, heading to Beauvais Airport. Four days in Paris and three days in Nice.

Tuscania Ghosts

Our student advisor, Marco, plays basketball for a small local league in Viterbo. Compared to soccer (calcio - cal chi o), basketball is the black sheep of Italian sports. I found this out when a contingent of us went to one of his games. We had made signs to support the Ghosts and wore green and white. I felt very American yelling at the refs and doing the wave. The team got a big kick out of it however; and apparently we are good luck because they only win when we are there to cheer them on.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Prima Frutti

First Fragole (strawberries) of SPRING!

Loredona had a delicious addition to my breakfast spread this morning - a small bowl of beautiful strawberries that had been soaking in sugar and lemon juice overnight.
She told me (in Italian) that its a bit early for strawberries, but they looked very red so she bought them. These strawberries could easily be the best I've every tasted - the sweet flesh was still firm and the color was an deep rosso.
If these are the first fruits, I can't wait to experience what else Spring has in store!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Maratona della citta di Roma

The 14th annual Rome Marathon was held on March 16th. A few friends and I decided to participate in this event ~ you know, when in Rome...

But since none of us had really trained for such a thing, we signed up for the STRACITTADINA, a 4 K "fun run" around a small part of the city.

The run started just after the Marathon took off. We all gathered (in our free t shirts and hats) next to the colleseum and to the tune of "Volare," began our march through Rome. Streets were blocked off and supporters lined the way shouting "Bravi."


Participants: 45.356
women: 49%
men: 51%
0 - 20 years old: 38%
21 - 40 years old: 25%
41 - 60 years old: 22%
over 60 years old: 15%