Un Minuto con…

All Men are Created Equal

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

July 4, 2015 we celebrate the 239th Independence day of our great nation and that “All men are created equal.”

A tribute to Filippo Mazzei and Thomas Jefferson.

In 1773, spurred by his curiosity and interests, Philip Mazzei, a winemaker from Tuscany, set sail for Virginia to promote the cultivation of wine grapes, olives, and other Mediterranean fruits to the colonies.

Philip planted some of the first European vines at Colle, the property Mazzei had purchased for himself near Jefferson’s Monticello’s estate. But Mazzei’s interests did not end with viticultural work, his interest spanned the entire cultural spectrum and he believed that all men were free to dream and become masters of the universe.

Indeed, he found a good friend in Jefferson and the two renaissance men became good friends. Jefferson was fond of Italy and named his residence Monticello to honor Andrea Palladio architectural style.

Mazzei believed that “Tutti gli uomini sono ugualmente liberi e indipendenti” and Jefferson admired his philosophical belief that influenced him to include in the “Declaration of Independence” the phrase “all men are created equal.”  Mazzei went on to create a winery named “Philip.”

On July 4th, remember to toast Mazzei and Jefferson and celebrate that “Tutti gli uomini sono ugualmente liberi e indipendenti.”

All Men 1

What also happened on July 4, 1776? King George III of England noted in his diary: “Nothing of importance happened today.”

Boy! Was he out of touch.

 

Rosario Mariani


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.

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Un Minuto con…

La Pietà

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

Pieta 2On April 4th 1964, the SS Cristoforo Colombo ocean liner carried the Pietà from the Vatican to the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair at Flushing Meadows.  The Pietà was put in a crate that was filled with plastic foam, which was lowered onto a rubber base in the first class pool where the least damage was likely to happen to it.

During the actual loading, the SS Cristoforo Colombo Pieta 1had been put in dry dock so that she would not move and jeopardize the crate and its content. Only easily removable snap hooks secured the crate so that it could be released easily in case of accident.

The thousands of persons visiting the Vatican Pavilion got a chance to see Michelangelo’s greatest artwork.  Not too many Americans took European Vacations in those days hence bringing the Pietà to New York, thanks to Cardinal Spellman, was truly a brilliant idea.

Pieta 3On November 3, 1965, I was on the first class deck of the Cristoforo Colombo and I watched the Pietà being reloaded for its return trip to Italy. Hardly anyone was around.

One thought came to my mind that in 1964-1965 the Italian Line had four ships in its fleet serving Italy; they were the Michelangelo, the Raffaello, the Leonardo Da Vinci and Cristoforo Colombo.

It would have meant a lot to Michelangelo Buonarroti  (1475 – 1564) if the Pietà would have been transported on the SS Michelangelo named in his honor.

 

Rosario Mariani



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.

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Un Minuto con…

Pawnbroker

Nice to Know

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

Pawnbrokers

The traditional symbol of the pawnbroker three golden balls (photo above)  is derived from the Medici family coat-of-arms, who ruled Florence in the 15th and 16th centuries.  The symbol was spread by the Lombards, Italian bankers, Goldsmiths and money lenders who set up business in medieval London.

“La Cipolla” The Onion

A must in all Italian kitchens was named after the Latin word “Unio” meaning a large pearl.

la cipolla

Il Calendario Gregoriano

Thanks to Pope Gregory XIII tweaking the Julian calendar and realigning the earth with the heavens, a new calendar was derived. England and the American colonies adopted the Gregorian calendar. On Sept 14th. 1752.

Miraculously the Pope made 11 days disappear. Therefore, if you went to bed on Thursday, October 4th 1582, when you woke up the next day it was Monday October 15. 1582.

I believe all the folks were mesmerized by listening to the Gregorian Chants throughout the lost 11 days.



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.

Posted in Un Minuto con... | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Un Minuto con…

shutterstock_160386785

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

At Versailles, during the reign of Louis XIV, it was considered gauche to knock on a door with your knuckles. Instead one scratched the door with the little finger of the left hand, and for this purpose courtiers let that particular nail grow long.

Fast forward to the end of the 19th Century in Southern Italy, as well as in other parts of the world, you will find distinguished men with long pinky fingernails.  Certainly, this tradition was not to copy the French aristocratic style, but it ushered in a new status symbol.

By the 1900’s, 80% of Italy’s population was engaged in agriculture and hence working in the fields was a common undertaking.  By growing a long fingernail, men were able to convey to his fellow citizens that he had arrived and he no longer toiled the land. This minor move up the social scale was very important and needed to be communicated to the world. Certainly with a manicured fingernail one could not possibly be a peasant.

This custom was short lived as Italy shifted from an agrarian to an industrial economy but will it reappear again in the future? As we enter the digital age and electronic gadgets are available to the masses, you are just a click away to explore the entire universe.

A little tap on your iPad, iPhone, or iWatch will display apps or a small keyboard to access everything you want to know. Unfortunately, keyboard and app displays are getting smaller and smaller with every new digital toy that comes out.

I would not be surprised if one day we will revert to having a long and pointed fingernail to be able to accurately aim at the function just like having a Stylus pen.

However, I’m a bit concerned whether SIRI on my iPhone will eliminate the keyboard and apps altogether in the future!


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.

Posted in Blog, Un Minuto con | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Un Minuto con…

 sardines

Packed like Sardines

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

Last week, I was forced to take a subway in New York City to avoid getting stuck in traffic and reach my destination on time . As the train approached the station, a fellow commuter said out loud .. “ Boy! the cars are packed like sardines”.

Wait a minute I said! Let’s give credit to the Italians for this nomenclature.

Sardines are known as Herring or Pilchards and are quite abundant in the Mediterranean and the Sardinians made good use of them by packing them tightly in cans to preserve as a great source of food with lots of protein, vitamins, phosphorous, Omega 3 fats, calcium, iodine and more.

The canning process for Herring or Pilchards was developed in Sardinia hence the canned goods were called Sardines and Napoleon Bonaparte helped popularize them.  Napoleon made good use of canned Sardines especially when he was planning to feed his army during his difficult Russian campaign.

Sardines are a super food now and “La Scolatura”  from the pressed sardines are a great source of Omega 3, which is a  panacea for good health.

However, Next time you are packed in like a Sardine in a subway car remember that there is no health benefit whatsoever when riding like one…you need to eat them quite often.


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.


Posted in Blog, Un Minuto con | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Festa della Repubblica

Photo Source: Italy Magazine

Photo Source: Italy Magazine

By Bella Vagnoni, NIAF Intern

In Italy, June 2nd  is Festa della Repubblica, a national holiday that commemorates the end of the monarchy. The history of the holiday dates back to 1946, when Italians voted to abolish the monarchy and adopt a republic form of government in its place. This vote came in the wake of World War II and the end of Benito Mussolini’s Fascist rule. Italians were more than ready for a change.

Festa della Repubblica, meaning Festival of the Republic, is a day full of celebration. While local, smaller parades take place all over Italy, the annual parade in Rome always draws the biggest crowd. Members of the Italian military, proudly waving Italian flags, march down the streets of Rome.

Photo Source: Style Italy

Photo Source: Style Italy

Additionally, the Frecce Tricolori flies over Rome and leaves behind a beautiful display of green, white, and red, as if the Italian flag is painted in the sky. One of the most revered traditions is the laying of a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the Altare della Patria. The President, Prime Minister, and other state officials attend the ceremony in Rome. There is music, dancing, and of course—food!

Much like the American celebration of the Fourth of July, Festa della Repubblica is a national holiday. The government is closed, as are schools and most other local establishments. Internationally, Italian embassies and communities alike celebrate Festa della Repubblica. For example, in Chicago’s Little Italy there is a parade and wreath-laying ceremony to honor the republic that is still thriving in Italy today.


Bella Vagnoni is a sophomore at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, where she studies political science and plays on the women’s basketball team. 

Posted in Blog, TraditionTuesday | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Un Minuto con…

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

giannini

Fun Facts

The Bank of Italy was founded in San Francisco, California, USA, in 1904 by Amadeo Giannini. It grew by a branch banking strategy to become the Bank of America and Italy and then on to Bank of America.

Marco Polo was born on the Croatian island of Korcula.

The term, “It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye” is from Ancient Rome.  The only rule during the wrestling matches was, “No eye gouging”, everything else was permitted.

La Luna di Miele” was a tradition that started 4,000 years ago in Babylon. For a month after the wedding, the bride’s father would supply his son-in-law with all the mead he could drink.  (Mead was a drink made from honey and beer to assure conception).  Back in those days the calendar was lunar based, hence honeymoon.

p01bqlwn

Giuseppe Verdi wrote the opera Aida at the request of the Khedive of Egypt to commemorate the opening of the Suez Canal on November 17, 1869.

Rome was the first city to reach a population of 1 million in 133BC. London matched this target in 1810, and New York City reached the 1 million mark in 1875.

Berengaria, Queen of England (1191 to 1199) and wife of Richard the Lionhearted, never set foot in England. She lived in Italy most of her life while her husband was off on adventures and crusades.

festival-red_carpet

The Cannes film Festival was conceived by two French Journalist while they were traveling by train to the Venice Film Festival.

In 1763, there were over 200 coffee shops in Venice, but not one was a Starbucks!

Posted in Blog, Un Minuto con | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

Tiber

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.

 shutterstock_126045302

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.

Posted in Blog, Un Minuto con | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Un Minuto con…

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

Image

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.

Posted in Blog, Italian American, National Italian American Foundation, NIAF, Un Minuto con | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

Montivso2

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!

 shutterstock_215095285

Did you Know?

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

Posted in Blog, Un Minuto con | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment