Category Archives: Randomness about Italy

San Giuseppe!

I’ve been slacking for a bit on the Italian updates.  But in honor of dear ole St. Joseph, I thought it only fitting that I hop back on the band wagon.  Nothing new in the arena of my Italian citizenship, but hopefully soon I’ll get into gear and find a loophole to move that along.

Two days ago, I celebrated my lack of Irish heritage with a little St. Patrick’s Day fun.  I will celebrate anything. Apparently, March 23 is National Puppy Day. Perhaps that means I should go get a puppy?? Hmmm, I wish.

Well, today is St. Joseph’s Day.  And in honor of my Sicilian heritage, I will celebrate!  The festivities aren’t quite as fun as St. Patrick’s day, but whatevs.  Tonight I will make sfinge.  (Recipe posted here last year.)  I have also been wanting to check out the Italian church in downtown LA.  They apparently have Mass in Italian every Sunday and I’ve never made it down there.  They have a huge St. Joseph’s Table every year and it lasts all weekend.  So, if my plan works out, I will wake up on Sunday morning and venture downtown for some Italian church and food.

And here’s a random Italian phrase to use this weekend… adding this to the pick-up line bank.

Il mio bicchiere si sente solo. Vorresti tenergli compagnia con il tuo?
• My drink is getting lonely. Would you like to join me with yours?

Use it well, my friends.  And Buon la Festa di San Giuseppe!

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An offer you can’t refuse

Disclaimer:  This is pretty much an offer you can’t refuse.  If you think you want to say no, don’t read on. Seriously. Stop now before it’s too late.

Alright fine…

A year has passed since news came out about a town in Sicily offering property for 1 euro. That’s right, ONE EURO.  And the town council is still accepting applications.  Now do you see where I’m going here??

They are still accepting applications, people.  If that’s not an offer you can’t refuse, I don’t know what is.  Seriously, 1 euro.

Salemi is about 96km southwest of Palermo,the capital of Sicily.  And it’s about 70km west of Corleone.  Wine vineyards, easy access to the Mediterranean, wonderful Italians everywhere.

So, here’s the deal: a large part of Salemi was destroyed in an earthquake and has never been rebuilt.  The town council owns all the property and in an effort to invigorate the city, they are selling each house for one euro with the requirement being that you have to refurbish and restructure the house within three years. There’s a whole application process, and they are weeding through applications, but they have 3,700 pieces of property! Thirty-seven-hundred!  One of those could be us.

Needless to say, I’ve spent a fair amount of time looking into this.  And while it won’t end up being 1 euro in the end, it’s totally worth it.  Think of the bonding time we’d have while trying to rebuild a house. Think of the dinners we’ll cook together.  Think of vacations or simply living day to day in the Sicilian countryside.

This could be the chance of a lifetime.  All I’m saying is how can you say no to this? Seriously.  Think it over and let’s come up with a plan.  A year from now we could be in Salemi rebuilding an old house on a hillside.  It’s your very own Under the Tuscan Sun… but not in Tuscany. And there won’t be a Polish work crew.

This is where we could be.  Let it marinate.  It won’t take long for you to realize you have no choice. You cannot refuse this offer.

Now, all we have to do is find money to fix it up.

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Filed under Randomness about Italy, Travels

All in a day’s work…

I am seriously ridiculous. Somehow I managed to incorporate Italian into most of today. Details to follow… For now, here is the brief summary:

  1. Delicious coffee and cake at Italian bakery
  2. Looked into Italian language schools
  3. Thoroughly researched buying land in Sicily
  4. Came up with brilliant reality show idea allowing me to move to Italy
  5. Wished a couple of people Happy Birthday in Italian
  6. Found a few delicious recipes for classic Sicilian dishes
  7. And finally purchased The Godfather Restoration Set

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Oh San Giuseppe!

Two days ago I wore green.  I sang along to Flogging Molly. I reveled in the spirit of St. Patrick and a country to which I have no heritage.  I love to celebrate. Anything really.

But today, today is the feast of St. Joseph.  And today, I will grasp on to the tradition of my heritage and celebrate. I have even worn my red Italia t-shirt to work today.  Must keep the spirit alive!

St. Joseph's Day

HISTORY LESSON!!! St. Joseph is regarded as the patron saint of Italy, and more specifically the land of my ancestors, Sicily.  Legend has it that during the middle ages, Sicily underwent a severe drought and the people of Sicily prayed to St. Joseph to bring rain and prevent a famine.  Well, as you can guess, it rained and the grateful people of Sicily offered up a massive feast in thanksgiving and honor of St. Joseph.  The fava bean is what saved them from starvation and thus is usually prominent in dishes on St. Joseph’s Day tables.  Hence, fava beans are generally deemed lucky.

Some traditions have people wearing red on this day (thus my shirt above) and eat a Sicilian pastry called zeppole.  Later this evening, I will attempt to make my own zeppole.  After which, I will report the outcome.

This day also brings back memories of New Orleans.  New Orleans, like me, is huge on celebrations.  And New Orleans, unlike my current city, celebrates in big fashion both St. Patrick’s Day and St. Joseph’s Day in a combined spectacular Irish-Italian Parade.  So if you’re in New Orleans this weekend, you should check it out!

Sunday, March 22 – Louisiana Irish-Italian Parade (Metairie) – 12 Noon

I must say that despite the celebration of heritage here, the feast of St. Joseph is quite relevant to the current conditions in the world.  We may not be dealing with drought and a looming famine, but the world is dealing with serious economic and for that matter ethical droughts. It seems that maybe a prayer to St. Joseph could be prudent at this juncture.

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I love to laugh…

So there’s this rumor going around that laughter is the best medicine.  The Italians have a saying that laughter makes good blood or “Il riso fa buon sangue.”  My friend Melia recently wrote an article for the Jackson Free Press:  Laughter, The Best Medicine. Check it out. And one of my all time favorites, Walt Disney’s Mary Poppins (1964):

And lastly, a friend of mine sent me this joke.  I had never heard it before and was pretty entertained. So to ease your ailing immune systems, I bring you a joke entitled “An Italian Boy’s Confession.”

‘Bless me Father, for I have sinned.  I have been with a loose girl.’

The priest asks, ‘Is that you, little Johnny Parisi?’

‘Yes, Father, it is.’

‘And who was the girl you were with?’

‘I can’t tell you, Father, I don’t want to ruin her reputation.’

‘Well, Johnny, I’m sure to find out her name sooner or later, so you may as well tell me now. Was it Tina Minetti?’

‘I cannot say.’

‘Was it Teresa Volpe?’

‘I’ll never tell.’

‘Was it Nina Capelli?’

‘I’m sorry, but I cannot name her.’

‘Was it Cathy Piriano?’

‘My lips are sealed.’

‘Was it Rosa Di Angelo, then?’

‘Please, Father, I cannot tell you.’

The priest sighs in frustration. ‘You’re very tight lipped, Johnny Parisi, and I admire that. But you’ve sinned and have to atone. You cannot be an altar boy now for four months. Now you go and behave yourself.’

Johnny walks back to his pew, and his friend Nino slides over and whispers, ‘What’d you get?’

‘Four months vacation and five good leads.’

That little Johnny… so sneaky.  So for now: Viva Bene, Spesso L’Amore, Di Risata Molto. (Live well, love much, and laugh often.)

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Filed under Learn Italian, Randomness about Italy

Buon Natale!

On this 25th day of December, I wish you a happy Christmas. For this great holiday a dear friend of mine gave me a wonderful addition to my library, so I now bring you a couple of little known facts courtesy of David Hoffman’s Italy: Little Known Facts about Well Known Places.

  • During the period from December 27 to December 31, Roman shops are filled with red underwear of all sorts. Apparently Italian tradition says that wearing red underwear on New Year’s Eve and throwing it out the next day will insure good luck in the coming year.

Not sure about you, but this sounds like much more fun than eating cabbage and black eyed peas. Sounds like a trip to the mall may be in order.

And not to do with Christmas, but completely unknown to me until now:

  • The pope’s official bodyguards are Swiss citizens, between 19 and 30 yrs old. They are at least 5’10” AND unmarried when they start the gig. AND regardless of age they must remain single for the first three years of duty, and if they are under twenty-one, they must stay single until at least twenty-five.

I’m not sure what the logic is, but there you go. That’s it for now. So I’ll leave you with one last Christmas wish and a weird music video to one of my all time favorite Christmas songs:

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