Saturday, June 22, 2013

I wish I was in Rome

Every summer marks another year since I realized my dream of visiting Italy. Some sorority sisters are participating in the same study abroad program and their Facebook photos are bringing back memories and making me want to be in Rome. 

Oh Rome, I miss gelato, cappuccino, pizza, gnocchi, smaller portions, the pretty buildings and shenanigans. Piazzas, the river, breadsticks and Nutella, sale season, the beach, eating out and not having a care in the world. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Calcio Update

Yesterday #ItaliaGol was trending on Twitter. Gli Azzurri, the Italian National Team, made a comeback in their match against Japan and secured a spot in the Conferedations Cup semi-final games. 

According to the BBC, Japan was leading the match but players such as Daniele De Rossi, Mario Balotelli, and Sebastian Giovinco worked together to win. 

Italy is set to face Brazil in the next round of the tournament. For more information, BBC Sport is a great resource! 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Piazza, Piazza!

Italy is filled with piazzas, or plazas. Used as meeting areas, performance arenas or markets, they are the central part of life. Rome has 24 piazzas, including: 

  • Piazza del Popolo
  • Piazza Navona
  • Piazza di Spagna 
  • Piazza di San Macuto
  • Piazza della Repubblica 
  • Campo de Fiori
  • Piazza della Minerva
  • Piazza della Rotonda
  • Piazza Venezia 
  • St. Peter's Square
Piazza di San Macuto
Every piazza has its own personality. 

Piazza Venezia is filled with tourists, near the Roman Ruins, Wedding Cake building and the Coliseum. Campo dei Fiori is the hub for students and young people from around the world. 

Piazza Navona is a stage with performers dancing while visitors dine at out door restaurants and artists sell their work during markets. 

For laid back enjoyment, visit Piazza di Spagna at night. It can be a tourist trap during the day but is the essence of Italian lifestyle in the evening. 

Always pay attention to happenings in the piazze for a full Italian experience! 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

College Town Italy

I graduated college today. It was such a surreal experience, and to celebrate my family went to an Italian restaurant on Taylor Street. One part of the commencement I found interesting was that academic disciplines have their own colors and symbols, relevant around the world in accredited institutions of higher education. It was exciting to think that communication students in Italy may be processing in to their ceremonies with crimson tassels or robes. 

Study abroad taught me somewhat about university in Italy. Like Chicago, Rome is a giant college town, with public and private Italian universities, as well as American study abroad campuses. The following are some universities in the Eternal City:

  • Sapienza University of Rome
  • University of Rome Tor Vergata
  • Roma Tre University
  • Foro Italico University of Rome
  • Universita degli Studi Internazionali di Roma
  • ISIA 
  • Biomedical University of Rome
  • The American University of Rome
  • John Cabot University
Sapienza University of Rome
Photo Credit:
Many American universities utilize AUR or John Cabot for study abroad, have their own campuses (such as Loyola University and University of Dallas) or they utilize Italiadea language academy like my school! 

In terms of Italian-run universities, there are government run institutions in every part of the country. Each major city usually has a flagship institution, in addition to privately run or province run institutions. 

If you are an American interested in studying in Italy, it is always important to do thorough research and make sure credits and degrees align with U.S. education and paperwork for student and work visas. An international education is always something to consider in a global village! 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Cannoli, a Classic Italian Dessert

Cannoli. In my opinion, this sweet treat is the epitome of Italian culture. Although its structure and details very by region, the basic makeup and deliciousness stays the same. 

Originally from Sicily, cannoli are found all over Italy and are a staple in Italian American restaurants. Crisp, cylinder shaped dough filled with sugary ricotta. Sometimes chocolate chips or pistachio are mixed in the filling. 

Cannoli filling at my house!

There are variants on the traditional Sicilian cannoli. My Nonna makes them by forming the dough as a cone and filling it with whipped vanilla pudding. In Rome, cannoli are adorned with fruit preserves. 

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A bakery near my home even sells cannoli cakes. Not just cake with cannoli flavoring, but a giant cannoli shell with smaller ones inside! This treat takes a variety of forms, from broken apart shells dipped in filling, chocolate dipped shells, minis or extra large cannoli. 

Travel tip: be sure to try a cannoli in every part of Italy you visit and compare them. 

It's important to note that when ordering in Italian, one cannoli is a cannolo. However, they are so delicious you will not be able to eat just one! 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Republic Day

June 2nd marks Republic Day in Italy, commemorating the anniversary of the referendum banishing the country's monarchy. After the end of World War II and killing of dictator Benito Mussolini, a republic was a fresh start for the nation. 

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According to a Yahoo! Finance article, this year's celebrations were slightly scaled back. This year's celebration only cost over 1 million euros, only a fraction of what was spent two years ago. Much of the traditional pomp and circumstance, such as tanks and horses were left out this year. 

A more simple Republic Day is just another example of how the Italian government is trying to cut back and stabilize the country's economy. 

Calcio, a Cornerstone of Italian Culture

A recent match between Rome and Lazio soccer teams reminded me how important the sport is in Italy. According to the New York Times, the two teams played each other in last week's Coppa Italia final. Tensions were tight due to recent matches resulting in violence between fans and the police. 

I thought Chicago's Cubs/Sox rivalry was bitter. 

Map of Italian soccer teams & attendance, 2006-2007
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Most calcio matches in Italy do not end with backlash against the police and attacks on fans. However, the Roma/Lazio rivalry shows that soccer, or calico, is interwoven into daily life. Fans, or tifosi, are very passionate about their team. It is a lifelong affiliation. 

Italian football writer Dylan Fahy reported that the Coppa Italia final ended in a Lazio victory, with the two sides only coming together during Psy's "Gangnam Style" performance. Violence did not result between fans at the game, but some Roma fans were so upset that they threw rotten eggs and rocks at the team bus. 

Soccer, football or calcio, the sport is a cornerstone of Italian culture. I had the good fortune to attend a Roma game at Wrigley Field last year, but I hope to see a game in Italy in the future!

Recipe for "una bella vita"

A "bella vita" is more than traveling and consuming copious amounts of delicious food. A beautiful life is simple, it requires good days, nights, food, fun and work. 

So important to keep in mind! 

Recipe for Bella Vita