Un Minuto con…

By Rosario Mariani, http://www.europebychoice.com

Via

So, where does your Salary come from?

From the beginning of the Roman Empire to the present day, Via Salaria in Rome is still very active.  The road was named Via Salaria, from the Latin word for “salt”, since it was the route by which the Sabines came to fetch salt from the marshes at the mouth of the Tiber.

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It ran from Porta Salaria in Rome to Porto d’Ascoli on the Adriatic coast, a distance of 150 miles. The road also passed through Rieti and Ascoli Piceno. It was one of many ancient salt roads in Europe.   Salt was very high in demand and the Salt Trade was quite lucrative. The Roman soldiers guarding the salt, the workers as well as the toll collectors along the way got paid with salt.  Hence their stipend was their salary.

Now we know that a good salary takes you a long way.

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Did you know?

The Mile is Latin for 1,000.

The number of paces it took the average Roman to walk a specified distance.


Rosario Mariani is the owner/CEO of Europe By Choice, which promotes travel to Italy and other select European countries. He has more than 40 years of experience in the travel industry, previously serving as Director of Italy Product for Italiatour and Club ABC Tours, and also in other positions with EuroFly, Alitalia and Air France.

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Un Minuto con…

By Rosario Mariani, http://www.europebychoice.com

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Food Philosophy in Italy

Italians enjoy their daily meal with a particular philosophy.

During my last visit to a local Massaria in Abruzzo, I was taken by the owner’s desire to express a philosophy about the meal by using unique quotes on all his menus:

  • “Si dice che l’appetito viene mangiando, ma in realta’ viene a star digiuni”. 

      Toto

  • “la cucina di un popolo e l’esatta testimonianza della sua civilta’ ” 

      Anonimo

  •  “ Siamo alla frutta.  Per fortuna poi arriva il dolce” 

      Andros

  •  “Mangiare e’ una necessita’. Mangiare intelligentemente e’ un’arte”.

      De La Rochefoucauld

  •  “Dopo un buon pranzo, si puo perdonare tutto, persino i  propri parenti”

      Oscar Wilde

  •  “Mangiare e’ uno dei quattro scopi della vita……quali sono gli altri tre nessuno lo ha mai saputo.

      Anonimo.

While in Italy, make lunch your principal meal of the day and be philosophical about it.  It will be more enjoyable!

 Religious Goods Store Logo

Did you know?

The religious goods business in Italy is estimated to be worth about $5.2billion – more than the country earns from exporting wine.


Rosario Mariani is the owner/CEO of Europe By Choice, which promotes travel to Italy and other select European countries. He has more than 40 years of experience in the travel industry, previously serving as Director of Italy Product for Italiatour and Club ABC Tours, and also in other positions with EuroFly, Alitalia and Air France.

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Un Minuto con…

By Rosario Mariani, http://www.europebychoice.com

Montviso

Monviso, in the Province of Cuneo in Piemonte, is the highest mountain (12,602 ft.) of the Cottian Alps and very close to the French border. Monte Viso is well known for its pyramid-like shape, and because it is higher than all its neighboring peaks by about 1,640 ft. it can be seen from some distance, from the Piedmontese plateau and the Langhe.  They say that on a very clear day it can be seen from the spires of the Duomo in Milan.

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Paramount Pictures was so inspired by the beauty of Monviso that it used its image as the company’s logo to express Paramount – meaning “more important than anything else”.  Do you see the resemblance?

Piemonte is fascinating!

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Did you Know?

The great Gothic Cathedral of Milan, Il Duomo, was started in 1386, and wasn’t completed until 1805.

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Italian A Day – the music and story of Alfredo Morena Sr.

Morena

The story of Italian composer Alfredo Morena Sr. is one that spans generations.

Born in 1891, in the town of Marsiconuovo, in the province of Potenza, Morena was the son of Giuseppe Morena, who served in the army during the unification of Italy in the late eighteen hundreds. A composer, musician and teacher, Giuseppe befriended Giuseppe Garibaldi during the war and later received musical instruction from celebrated composer Giuseppe Verdi.

Morena inherited his father’s passion for composing and started to write music for piano and violin, during the late 1800s and early 1900s. In 1905, the family moved to the United States, settling in Philadelphia. Here, Morena continued his interests in music, working as a music teacher and playing the violin in the Philadelphia Orchestra.

All along, Morena continued to write music, but he would never perform his compositions in public. A week before he was scheduled to perform his music for the first time, on radio, he died at the age of 36 of an infection from a ruptured appendix.

Decades later, son Alfred Morena Jr., found his father’s violin and piano scores among his mother’s belongings.

“Since I was only two years old when he died, I neither knew my father no his music,” Morena Jr. told the National Italian American Foundation.

“I was curious to hear what the music sounded like so I took it to a music studio to have it played. When the pianist started to play the music, I felt that my father was talking to me. It was an extremely emotional occurrence and one that I shall never forget,” Morena Jr. said.

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Morena Jr. loved the music and invested nearly $100,000 to have it copyrighted, professionally recorded and copied onto CDs.

“He was on his way. Getting on a radio station even back then was quite an accomplishment. Whether he would have been successful or not, I don’t care. I was going to do it, he couldn’t do it,” Morena Jr. told New Jersey’s Sunday Home News Tribune, in May 2013.

Morena Jr. has worked tirelessly for hours upon hours, every day for the last 18 years, to bring his father’s music to the public. So far, he has been able to have the music played on radio stations throughout the northeast and held a number of live music recitals, most recently a performance of his father’s music at the world-renowned Lincoln Center in April 2013 (video below).

“I’m getting on in years, and it is my current wish in life to make his music available to larger audiences and to have it serve as a cultural bridge between the United States and Italy. In so doing, also make it a living tribute to my father who died before he could do so himself,” Morena Jr. said.

A collection of Alfredo Morena Sr.’s recorded and sheet music is currently on file at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts in Manhattan. To learn more about Alfredo Morena Sr. and purchase his music, please visit  www.musicaltreasures.biz .

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Un Minuto con…

By Rosario Mariani, http://www.europebychoice.com

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Espresso Coffee with a Lemon Twist

When visiting New York City, many Italian tourists are perplexed as to why Italian restaurants serve espresso with a lemon twist on the side.

Even finer establishments adhere to this Italian American tradition, while in Italy no such combination exists. The only time Italians take lemon with their hot drinks is with tea and only when they do not feel well. There are two major reasons that I can come up with and you can pick the one you like the best.

First, during the first half of the 20th Century, Italians from the poor southern towns, craved for coffee but the blends that reached the small towns were of poor quality and the taste was never consistent.  Therefore, to give the coffee a better taste, they often added a bit of grappa “per aggiustare il gusto”.  Immigrants who came to America found that the coffee was not any better than the blend they left behind in the old country.  Unfortunately, they could not afford to buy grappa so they reverted to twisting a lemon peel that became a good substitute. It worked well and the tradition started and prospered with the coming generations.

The second explanation is that when drinking coffee outside the home, the washing and sterilization of the cup was not always done.  To prevent any infection, the customers would use a lemon peel to rub around the rim to sterilize it.

In conclusion if you have another “twist” to this story, let me know about it.

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Ancient Roman tradition!

During ancient Roman times one always entered the home of a friend on their right foot. The left side of the body was thought to portend evil.  The Latin word for left is sinister, thus our English word sinister stands for anything threatening or malevolent.


Rosario Mariani is the owner/CEO of Europe By Choice, which promotes travel to Italy and other select European countries. He has more than 40 years of experience in the travel industry, previously serving as Director of Italy Product for Italiatour and Club ABC Tours, and also in other positions with EuroFly, Alitalia and Air France.

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Un Minuto con…

By Rosario Mariani, http://www.europebychoice.com

Mikhail Gorbachev e’ di origine Pugliese!

After the Crimean War  (1853 to 1856), the local economy was devastated and since Crimea was a peninsula surrounded by the Black Sea, fishing was encouraged and exploited.  Thus, the authorities invited over 100 fishermen from Puglia to start the fishing industry on the Peninsula.

The Pugliesi had a great reputation for being the best fishermen and were sought throughout the world.  As expected, the Pugliesi did very well and prospered.  Over the next few generations, the Pugliesi were fully integrated in to their host country,  just as they did in all other parts of the world.

Over the next 130 years, these great fishermen inter-married with the locals and one of the descendants became the leader of the Soviet Union and his name is Mickhail Gorbachev.

Mr. Gorbachov, General Secretary of the Soviet Union from 1985 to 1991, was born in Stavropol on March 2, 1931 to a peasant Ukrainian-Russian family. Now we know why on many of Mr, Gorbachev visits to Italy, he preferred eating pasta at every meal.  I guess it’s in the DNA.

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Did you Know?

Florence was the first city to mint its own gold coins in 1252.


Rosario Mariani is the owner/CEO of Europe By Choice, which promotes travel to Italy and other select European countries. He has more than 40 years of experience in the travel industry, previously serving as Director of Italy Product for Italiatour and Club ABC Tours, and also in other positions with EuroFly, Alitalia and Air France.

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Un Minuto con…

By Rosario Mariani, http://www.europebychoice.com

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Lost in Translation:

This week we honor those Italian business establishments that did their best to capture the foreign tourist’s attention by literally translating Italian into poor English. It’s not an easy task!

Enjoy!

Redfish in Crazy water   

translated from “Pesce Rosso a l’acqua Pazza”  fish cooked in water with Olive, tomato and Garlic.

Doctor’s office in Rome:  

“Specialist in women and other diseases

 A laundry in Rome: 

“Ladies, leave your clothes here and spend the afternoon having a good time”

 Dental office in Italy:

“We extract teeth with the latest Methodists”

In an Italian cemetery: 

Persons are prohibited from picking flowers from any but their own graves.

Hotel brochure in Italy: 

This hotel is renowned for its peace and solitude. in fact, crowds from all over the world flock here to enjoy its solitude.

Sign in hotel elevator: 

Please leave your values at the front desk.

Tourist agency: 

Take one of our horse-driven city tours. We guarantee no miscarriages.

Italian department store:

“Our stockings cost more but they are much better on the long run”

“Our shoes are special for street walking” (sandali da passeggio)

These were some of the funny ones that I came across throughout my travels. I am sure that the next generation translators will make use of “Google Translate” and the fun will be over.

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NICE TO KNOW!

The statue by Auguste Rodin that has come to be called the thinker was not meant to be a portrait of a man in thought. It was a portrait of DANTE ALIGHIERI


Rosario Mariani is the owner/CEO of Europe By Choice, which promotes travel to Italy and other select European countries. He has more than 40 years of experience in the travel industry, previously serving as Director of Italy Product for Italiatour and Club ABC Tours, and also in other positions with EuroFly, Alitalia and Air France.

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Un Minuto con…

By Rosario Mariani, http://www.europebychoice.com

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Proverbi Italiani

“Impara l’arte e mettela da parte”  – “Learn a trade and put it aside”.

Regional dialects of Italy are rich in proverbs.

Proverbs were particularly important during the turn of the 19th century as many poor and under-privileged Italians immigrated to far-away lands and needed a set of rules to guide them through the uncertainties of what may lay ahead.

In the states, many new opportunities arose for the new generation as they learned and assimilated to the American culture.

Parents from the old world could not understand how their children could venture into new endeavors without risking failure or not being able to be self-sufficient.  So, many concerned parents would utter the following proverb to their children during dinner time; ricordatevi, figli miei,  di “Imparare l’arte e mettetela da parte”.

In 1910, Pietro Como and Lucia Travaglini arrived in the USA from Palena in the province of Chieti.  In 1912, their first American boy, Pierino (Perry), was born in Canonsburg, PA.  Pierino was quite talented and loved musical instruments and aspired to become a singer or a musician.  Pietro understood this but wanted to his son to make a decent living and support himself.

Perry-Como-001

Peirino respected his father’s wishes and learned to become a barber by the age of 10.   He was short and thus had to stand on a box to give haircuts.

By age 14, not only was Pierino a good barber, but he had hired two other boys and ran his own shop.  His father passed away, during this time, and Pierino was able to support his family from practicing his trade.

But, Pierino also wanted to pursue his singing career and, as we all know, his voice warmed our hearts for many decades that followed. Perry Como was always confident that if things failed he could always go back to being a barber.


Rosario Mariani is the owner/CEO of Europe By Choice, which promotes travel to Italy and other select European countries. He has more than 40 years of experience in the travel industry, previously serving as Director of Italy Product for Italiatour and Club ABC Tours, and also in other positions with EuroFly, Alitalia and Air France.


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Un Minuto con…

By Rosario Mariani, http://www.europebychoice.com

Castello dei Semivicoli – Casacanditella (Chieti)

Castello dei Semivicoli – Casacanditella (Chieti)

 E’ Primavera in Abruzzo

The Abruzzo region is so diverse – from its shoreline on the Adriatic coast, to its small quaint towns on the hilltops, to the majestic peaks of the Maiella Mountains, Abruzzo, has it all.

Two years ago, my wife and I spent a few days in a Casacanditella, a small hamlet perched on an enchanted hill, to admire the Maiella Mountains and the surrounding landscape.  Gabrielle d’Annunzio referred to this location as “Il terrazzo d’Abruzzo”.

The only place one can overnight is at the  Castello dei Semivicoli, a Baronial house with only 10 rooms, built by il Barone Pernicone between the 17th and 18th century.

In the early 1980’s Mr Gianni Masciarelli took over the property and started producing selected wines from Montepulciano grapes and turned the home into a Castle for guests to enjoy the wonderful surroundings and great wine.

Castello dei Semivicoli – Casacanditella (Chieti)

Castello dei Semivicoli – Casacanditella (Chieti)

A few words on the Masciarelli family: Gianni became a great wine producer, but part of the Masciarelli family immigrated to the USA from San Martino sulla Marrucina at the turn of the last century.

In the USA, Anthony Masciarelli, an industrial film producer, changed his last name to Marshall after he arrived in the Bronx.  In 1934 and in 1943 Gary Marshall and Penny Marshall were born and went on to conquer Hollywood.

Whether its wine in Abruzzo or great films in America the Masciarelli family became great producers.

The Apple of Your Eye

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In ancient times, tossing an apple to a girl was a traditional proposal of
marriage. Catching it meant she accepted.

FYI – The apple tree is a deciduous tree in the Rose family


Rosario Mariani is the owner/CEO of Europe By Choice, which promotes travel to Italy and other select European countries. He has more than 40 years of experience in the travel industry, previously serving as Director of Italy Product for Italiatour and Club ABC Tours, and also in other positions with EuroFly, Alitalia and Air France.

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