Above: Adam Driver signing autographs at this year’s Venice Film Festival.
Italians are passionate about cinema. And they have every right to be: The Italian filmmakers of the 1920s and 30s were pioneers and they produced some of the greatest movies of that era.
By the 1950s and 1960s, Italian films topped the box office charts: Vittorio De Sica, Roberto Rossellini, Federico Fellini, Michelangelo Antonioni… The list can go on and on.
Italian cineastes from that era created some of the world’s favorite movies and most enduring images.
Just think of heartthrob Marcello Mastroianni wooing bombshell Anita Ekberg at the Trevi Fountain in Rome in Fellini’s La Dolce Vita! The scene is one of the most famous images captured on film of all time.
The Venice Film Festival, now in its seventy-first year, is currently underway and will show its final film Saturday of this week. It is the world’s oldest film festival and, together with the Cannes festival, it is arguably the world’s most prestigious.
And just to add icing to the cake, it takes place each year in the beautiful city of Venice, where residents use canals and gondolas instead of streets and cars.
The festival is part of the city’s Biennale art festival, which spans the entire year with screenings, exhibitions, art shows, and other artistic “happenings.”
The film festival (just like all the other events) are open to the public.
And we highly recommend taking a look at the Wikipedia entry for the festival. It gives a great overview of the festival’s origins and its importance in the world of cinema today.
And of course, when you attend a screening, don’t forget to turn to the person sitting next to and say, buona visione!, enjoy the movie!
Image via the Venice Film Festival website.
Ferragosto, for the vast majority of Italians, means one thing: HOLIDAY. It’s a time of mass exodus from the cities to the beaches and mountains. Store fronts are shuttered with signs saying Chiuso per ferie or closed for vacation, and normally bustling town centers become deserted.
The date August 15is technically the day of Ferragosto, but the typical break period is the entire month of August. (Though nowadays we are seeing a trend toward a shorter 2 week vacation.)
Ferragosto, however, is not an arbitrarily designated holiday. Like most things Italian, it has its roots in antiquity. The term itself is a derivative of the Latin feriae Augusti, which is a reference to the fact the original holidays were implemented by emperor Augustus in the first century B.C. This “bank holiday” of sorts coincided with the already practiced harvest festivities to grant a nice time of rest after the hard agricultural labor cycle.
August 15 is also the day when the assumption of the virgin Mary is observed.
If you plan to visit Italy in August, just remember that you may find much of the tourist cities chiuso per ferie… Head to the beach instead and join the Italian masses in celebration of a much-anticipated time of year.
Above, from left: Will Rogers (Mazzoni ambassador) with Live Like an Italian Sweepstakes winners Ed and Amy from Atlanta.
Ed and Mary from Atlanta were this week’s winners of the Live Like an Italian Sweepstakes.
Their prizes included a stove-top coffeemaker by Bialetti, an icon of Italian coffee.
Live Like an Italian is at the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival throughout the weekend.
Please stop by and taste with us!
Above: The Lido di Ostia near Rome (photo via BeachesZone).
So many of you out there are getting ready to travel, and hopefully your European jaunt will include at least one great Italian city. Since it’s summer and no Italian cultural experience is complete without tanning like an Italian, we want to point you in the direction of some of Italy’s best urban beaches.
Maybe you’re doing 48 hours in Venice or Rome and want to get a little beach time in? Visiting Naples and can’t make it to the Amalfi Coast? Never fear, there’s always a spiaggia near.
In Venice, just a quick boat ride across the lagoon will get you to Venice Lido. It’s home to the Venice film festival, and the setting for the Thomas Mann’s classic novel, Death in Venice. There are two public beaches and tons of private areas to choose from where renting a beach chair and umbrella are possible.
In Rome, tan as the Romans do. The beach isn’t exactly in the city, but a quick 35 minute train ride with get you to Ostia Lido. It’s a great escape from the heat and you’ll run into many other Romans escaping as well. There is also Santa Marinella which will take about 45 minutes by train. While these beaches are far from being at the top of the list of Italy’s best, they have been cleaned up and provide the hot, beach-craving masses with blue, sparkling Mediterranean water.
Naples has arguably some of the prettiest water and most dramatic scenery of all of Italy’s urban beaches. Spiaggette (small sandy beaches) and scogliere (stone beaches) dot the coastline of the city in areas like Chiaia, Mergellina and Posillipo. The latter is home to the storied village of Marechiaro with its tiny sandy beach and classic architecture. Heading west just a bit, you’ll find Bagnoli with its long stretch of beach that hosts a variety of bars and discotechs that fill with the Neapolitan youth on any given night of the summer. No matter where you choose to fare il bagno (take a swim) in Napoli, you’ll be delighted to enjoy a breathtaking view of Vesuvius as it stands watch over the ancient city.
In just a few short years, the Atlanta Food and Wine Festival has become one of the hottest tickets on the U.S. gourmet festival scene, attracting some of the biggest names in the restaurant and food writing world.
The festival begins next Thursday and runs through Sunday.
We are thrilled to announce that Live Like an Italian will be there this year!
Please stop by our stand to say hello and to enter the Live Like an Italian sweepstakes!
Here are some of the fun prizes you can win:
Ever heard of Jovanotti? Well, keep your ears open because he is making a grand attempt at an American crossover.
Jovanotti (real name Lorenzo Cherubini) is an mega-star in Italy. He’s been on the scene since the late 80s. His music started out as fun, ebullient rapping, but very quickly evolved into songs with a socio-politcal conscience.
His most famous song, l’Ombelico del Mondo, is a true party anthem that is still faithfully played in discoteche all over Europe.
A few years ago, Jovanotti put up shop in New York to begin winning Americans over, one small venue at a time. In October, he kicked off a domestic tour that included club dates along the east coast, an Austin CIty Limits gig, as well as a date in LA and some smattered across the midwest.
He has been in the hearts of Italians the fabric of their culture for decades and whether you know him now or not, he is soon to become a household name in the USA as well.
His most recent release is Italia 1988-2012. Check it out!
Image via Wikimedia Commons.