Un Minuto con…

Did you know…

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

Ricotta cheese is not a cheese at all. It’s a creamy curd cooked twice. Ricotta literally Ricottatranslates to “re-cooked.” Similarly, the Italian biscotti are small pastries “cooked twice.”

Gelato has a much lower fat content than ice cream. It actually ranges from fat-free to 4%-6%, for the creamier flavors. Next time, when ordering gelato, don’t settle for just one scoop – It’s ok to splurge a little.

Prosciutto was banned for export to the U.S. until 1989. Mortadella and Speck were outlawed until 2000. Other meats, including cotechino, zampone and culatello are still banned today.

There are more than 600 pasta shapes produced worldwide. I’m sure next year someone will invent another shape!

Many of Shakespeare’s plays were set in Italy, including Romeo and Juliet from Verona,
The Merchant of Venice
and a few more.

The Italian Carabinieri (police) uniforms are designed by Valentino. Someday, I would like to see our police officers wearing uniforms designed by Ralph Lauren!


The largest white truffle weighing over 3 pounds was unearthed near Pisa, Italy.  I’m wondering if the dog or pig that unearthed it got a reward.

The oldest olive tree in Umbria, Italy is reportedly to be
over 1,700 years old.  In Italy, an old, live tree on the property will increase the value of the house since the tree brings good luck.

The “Grammy Awards,” which started in 1959, awarded two great Italians: Domenico Modugno’s Volare for the record of the year, and Henry Mancini for the best Album of the Year.

And finally, my best Neapolitan expressions…

“Arricuord semp… Nisciun fa nient pe’ senza nient” – Loosely translated: “ There is no free lunch”

“ ‘cca nisciun e’ fess”  –  “No one is a fool here”

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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