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.

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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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Italian A Day – Charlie Del Vecchio

By Christina Del Vecchio Sizemore

Charlie Del Vecchio

My father, Charlie (Marcellino) Del Vecchio was born January 9, 1911 in Rome, New York. Both of his parents had emigrated from southern Italy (Campania) at the turn-of-the-century, so he was a first generation born Italian American.

Upon graduating from the Rome Free Academy, he worked for a short period for a photographic studio in Watertown, NY. Then, in 1930, he moved to Washington, DC to work for Harris & Ewing. At that time, Harris and Ewing was the largest photographic studio in DC and took the official portraits of Presidents and other officials from Roosevelt to Eisenhower. It was at Harris and Ewing that my father really learned his trade.

In 1934, my father married my mother- who was also a first generation born Italian American-  at the Italian Church of Washington, Holy Rosary, which just this past year celebrated its first hundred years. In 1935, my started a new job with the Washington Post, where he remained for the next 43 years, garnering recognition and awards all along the way.

In 1961, he was elected President of the White House News Photographers Association, a recognition of which he was extremely proud. At the Association’s annual banquet, President John F. Kennedy joked about the fact that he was surrounded by Italians – not only was my dad Italian, but so too was his predecessor and the president-elect.

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In 1968, my father had his first heart attack. Even though his health was not the best, he loved his job and would not retire from the Post, for another 10 years, in 1978.

When my father passed away in 1980, the Post published several editorials about him over two consecutive days – something not normally done for one of their employees. In one of these editorials, the following was said:

In the course of his years with the Post, he took photographs of just about every kind of event that occurs in the Washington area. He covered the White House, Capitol Hill, sports, civil disturbances, various crimes, including gambling in southern Maryland, the weather, sunrises and sunsets, beauty pageants and people from every walk of life.

My father was a great photographer and a very proud Italian American. In 2002, we donated more than 5,000 of his photographs to the Newseum in Washington, where they now reside for posterity.

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Un Minuto con…

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

vulcan_volcano

Vesuvius, Pompeii, Herculaneum and the festival of Vulcanalia

Every August 23, an annual festival of Vulcanalia was held in Roman times to celebrate and honor Vulcan, the god of fire, which was both beneficial and a hindrance to mankind. The holiday occurred during the harvest season, and all celebrations were conducted outside the city limits in order to avoid any harm to the area.

People prayed for protection against the destructive forces of Vulcan, but also celebrated the harvest and the all good things came along with it.  As usual the festivities went very well on August 23, 79AD, but just one day after the celebration, Mount Vesuvius  responded fiercely by erupting.

In early morning, a cloud of ash and pumice 12 miles high shot from the central cone.  Midday became like midnight as the city of Pompeii, just 5 miles from the volcano, was covered with six inches of ash and pumice within the first hour.

Herculaneum was even closer to the mountain, but being upwind of the volcano it was covered with a light coating of ash. Around midnight, the column from the volcano collapsed and the mountainside was filled with a glowing avalanche of boiling gases, pumice and rocks which flowed over Herculaneum burying the city under 65 feet of hot volcanic matter. The town was sealed as if a layer of concrete had been poured over it.

On your next visit to Pompeii, visit the ruins and reflect on the destructive forces that took place 1936 years ago, but also remember that this area became the most fertile land in all of Italy as well.

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Did you Know?

 In 1499, the Spanish explorer Alonso de Ojedo, led an expedition along the Caribbean coast of South America, and his navigator, Amerigo Vespucci, observed that many Indian huts were built on stilts over water.  This reminded him of Venice so he called the area Veneziola, a little Venice which later became Venezuela.


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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Italian A Day: Tony Durpetti

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By Michelle Durpetti

I would love to nominate my father, Tony Durpetti, owner + proprietor of legendary Chicago steakhouse Gene & Georgetti as an “Italian a Day” feature. Started in 1941 by Gene Michelotti (Durpetti’s father in law) and Alfredo “Georgetti” Federighi, Gene & Georgetti is a family owned and operated restaurant for almost 74 years.

Tony is a born and bred Chicagoan. He is a third generation Italian (his family originates from the Marche region). Born in 1944 to simple beginnings, Tony began working at the age of 9, and hasn’t looked back since. He served his country in the mid 1960’s, spending two years in Germany. In 1969, he married Marion Michelotti.

Tony began his career in radio advertising at that time with McGavern Guild radio, a national radio advertising firm, quickly moving through the ranks to Vice President in the early 80’s. In 1986, he started his own company, Durpetti & Associates and was continuously recognized as one of the top executives in his field. Durpetti & Associates grew to 12 offices nation wide and broke sales records that no one has matched since.

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Upon his father in law’s death in 1989, Tony and his wife Marion purchased Gene & Georgetti from Ida, Gene’s wife so that it would remain in the family. After seven years of managing both the restaurant and his nationally recognized company, Durpetti retired from radio after 30 years to run the restaurant full time.

A dedicated philanthropist, Tony + his wife support numerous charities including Common Threads, Hephzibah Children’s House, and The Chicago Hunter Derby. He is an active support of his community and supports many civic organizations. He is especially proud of his Italian heritage, the facility tradition and entrepreneurial spirit that Gene & Georgetti is known for. He credits his mother for being a charitable inspiration from a very young age (she was known in their River North neighborhood for assisting newly arriving immigrants with the transition to Chicago, and constantly welcomed those who were hungry or in need of assistance into their home for meals).

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The joint civic committee of Italians Americans have recognized him as their humanitarian of the year, and he has served as the honorary chairman to Chicago’s annual Columbus Day parade. This week, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s annual Grand Chef’s Gala awarded their inaugural Jean Banchet “Chicago Classic” lifetime achievement award to Gene & Georgetti.

Tony is all heart. He has integrity and kindness. He is a great leader, motivator and supporter of humanity. He is also a survivor and an eternal optimist – three years ago an infection of unknown origin settled in his lungs and left him on life support for nine days. After three months of therapy, he was up walking and constantly setting new goals to reach during his recovery process. He has an indomitable will,  and is one of the most generous spirits that I have had the privilege to know, and I believe he would do your “Italian A Day” series very proud!

For more information, please visit www.geneandgeorgetti.com (all of the history of the restaurant and our family is available there).

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Un Minuto con…

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

“Torna a Surriento”:

The song “Torna a Surriento” was written by Ernesto De Curtis in 1902, and the lyrics were composed by his brother Giambattista. Growing in popularity over the years, the song has been sung by performers as diverse as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Enrico Caruso, Elvis Presley and Mario Lanza.

Claude Aveling wrote the English language lyrics of the song, titled “Come Back to Sorrento”, which was later re-arranged to set the lyrics for Elvis Presley.  In 1961 it was re-titled “Surrender” and went on to become a number one hit.

It is said that De Curtis composed the song on the terrace of the Imperial Hotel Tramontano at the request of Mr. Guglielmo Tramontano, who was also the Mayor of Sorrento, to commemorate the stay by Italy’s Prime Minister, Giuseppe Zanardelli.

The song is a plea to Zanardelli to keep his promise to help Sorrento build a sewerage system. The song reflects the beauty of the city’s great surroundings and the love and passion of its citizens.

I remember visiting Sorrento and standing on the terrace of the Tramontano. Overlooking the Bay of Naples, I sipped  a Campari and soda and marveled at how easily the Italians are inspired, even by a sewage system.

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Did you know?

Months that start with a Sunday always has a Friday 13th.

Triskaidekaphobia – fear of the number 13.



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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The Truth Behind “Italian Wedding Soup”

By Gabriella Mileti, NIAF Director of Programs

The mountainous regions of Abruzzo and Molise in Southern Italy are particularly rich in certain vegetables such as cardoons (similar to artichokes), fennel, salad greens like endive and chicory, and wild herbs such as dandelions and nettles.

All of these vegetables and greens are gathered in the fields during the spring and made into tasty soups, such as zuppa di scarola , also known as zuppa maritata (or minestra maritata). But, in American, you may know it as “Italian wedding soup.”

Yet, if you go to Italy, I can 100% guarantee you will never see this soup served at weddings. In fact, Italians will have no idea what you’re talking about.

So where is the disconnect? It’s all in the words.

The word maritata is the dialect word for “married,” since zuppa maritata is the marriage of the ingredients that go well together- whether it’s vegetables and beans, or vegetables and meatballs.

So, Italian wedding soup is the mistranslation of zuppa maritata, literally meaning married soup.

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Un Minuto con…

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

pupo italiano

Pezzo Novanta

Believe it or not!

In the movie, “The Godfather,” Vito Corleone implied that a “Pezzo Novanta,” was a person who pulled the strings and exerted lots of power – A Big Shot!

Coeleone to his son Michael:

I never wanted this for you…I thought that when it was your time, that you would be the one to hold the strings. Senator Corleone. Governor Corleone. Somethin’.”

Another meaning could have originated when referring to a 90 caliber pistol over a 45 caliber, in order to make certain the fire power was overwhelming.

The meaning I like best is the one I heard on one of my trips to Palermo, when I purchased un “Pupo Siciliano,” (see photo of 45 cm pupo). When the puppeteers were staging a show, they dressed up the puppets to represent either the common folks and soldiers, or the very powerful individuals that everybody feared or respected.

Puppeteers used 45 cm pupi (puppets), but when they introduced the powerful character, puppeteers turned to their assistant and say, “Dammi un Pezzo da Novanta,” (a 90 cm pupo).

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Roman Proverb

If you are chasing 2 rabbits, you’ll catch none.


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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