Italian Calcio: Italy's Heart and Soul
Calcio (or if you’re not ready for total Italian immersion, soccer) is by far Italy’s most popular sport. It is also a unifying force for its people every time the national team plays, and a venue for airing age-old antagonisms every time the league plays. Clearly, there’s a lot riding on the humble soccer ball’s every bounce. Continue reading.
Famous Italian Songs
I asked my Italian friends from different regions of Italy: "What's a typical song from your region or city?" (Grazie, amici, per i suggerimenti!) This great selection will give you a good idea about Italian music and a little peek into regional identity. Enjoy these famous samples! Continue to watch and listen.
Interview with Robert Camuto
Camuto: "In 2008, I was preparing for the release of my first book, Corkscrewed, about the eccentric stalwart winemakers in France, and coming up on my 50th Birthday, I had one of those moments where one says, 'If I had one more year on this earth, what would I do?' and the answer came to me naturally--'Go to Sicily.'" Continue reading.
Italian Opera: Giacomo Puccini
Giacomo Puccini once famously said, "Just think of it! If I hadn't hit on music I should never have been able to do anything in the world." Well, maestro, you certainly did hit on music and we're all the luckier. For that, Signor Puccini, you deserve one big grazie and a bravo to match. Continue reading.
Want to Learn Italian? Here Are Some Tips!
We all know it, Italian is a beautiful language. It's colorful. It has rhythm. It flows like a river. It's musical. Poetic. Derived primarily from Latin, the first written traces of what is referred to as "Italian" today date back 1,000 years, with earlier evidence of it in Vulgar Latin stretching back to ancient times. Continue reading.
What Is "Italy"?
Many people have attempted to put their fingers on what Italy is, how Italians think, what it is about the country that’s so alluring. The task is beyond hard. It’s difficulty is perhaps part of the answer. Whatever Italy is, it’s certainly something that's baffling. It’s a land of conundrums: of complexities, of simplicities. Continue reading.
FIAT 500: An Iconic Italian Car
When you hear (in this case, read) the name “Dante,” do you think of automobiles? Likely not. You think of Dante Alighieri, the author of The Divine Comedy, right? Well, today you are going to add another Dante to your list of Dantes, this one being Dante Giocosa, the Italian car designer who first dreamed up the now iconic FIAT 500. Continue reading.
Christmas in Italy
What could be more spectacular than Christmas in Italy? Can't you just imagine it: Walking through a lightly snow-covered piazza, hot chocolate in hand (that deep, rich, dark chocolate that Italians serve), enjoying samples of local desserts, buying Christmas ornaments. Continue reading.
That's what it was called: "L'America." To say it was to admit you were a dreamer. To say it meant you hoped for something better. My family dreamed of this "America" 100 years ago. They were inspired enough by the idea of it to cross the ocean, to risk everything. And who were some of my family's dreamers? Continue reading.
What Was the Italian Renaissance?
"The Renaissance." "Il Rinascimento." "The Rebirth." We've all heard of this period, but what exactly was it? One way to describe it would be this: Imagine you're fifteen, bored out of your mind, it's the summer, and you're visiting your grandparents an hour away from home. Continue reading.
The Fork & The Cork
Super Tuscan Wines
"Super Tuscan" wines are the outlaws of Tuscany. They're the region's renegades. They break all the rules and have a great time doing so. If you are feeling rebellious, then you must buy one, drink one. Super Tuscans can be truly fantastic. Continue reading.
If Bacchus, the ancient god of wine, intoxication, and pleasure, were hanging out in his fancy Temple in Rome today, he'd probably be sipping on a glass (or chugging a bottle?) of Moscato d'Asti, that fine sparkling delight of a dessert wine from the province of Asti. Continue reading.
Brunello di Montalcino
My Italian pals and I blazed through the Tuscan countryside in our Fiat all afternoon, arriving in Montalcino as the sun began its last hours. Our goal was quite simple. First: arrive. Second: drink wine. Not just wine, though. Brunello, one of the kings of the wines of Italy. Continue reading.
Cascina Bruciata Winery
That name--Cascina Bruciata--tells it all, I think. Of course it's just a suspicion, but I'm pretty sure I'm onto something here. What do I mean? To begin, "cascina" means "farm," or "farmstead." "Bruciata" means "burned." This is not just an issue of clever naming. It's the truth. Continue reading.
The History of the Tomato in Italy
The tomato in Italy has a convoluted history. It’s hard to trace, but there are some key dates and places to keep in mind. For one, the tomato is not indigenous to Europe, though the Europeans certainly have found innumerable delicious ways to serve it. Continue reading.
Raffaldini Vineyards & Winery
Join us as we visit Raffaldini Vineyards and Winery in North Carolina. Our "Lights! Camera! Pour!" video won an honorable mention in the annual video contest put on my Wine Spectator Magazine. Enjoy! Continue to the Nello's Italy Vimeo Channel.
Official Tortellini in Brodo Recipe
An Italian from Emilia would claim that a true tortellino (that would be the singular of tortellini) resembles "l'ombelico di Venere," Venus's bellybutton. Bologna, located in Emilia-Romagna (the western half, Emilia) is likely the birthplace of tortellini. Continue reading.
Cato's Ancient Roman Cheesecake Recipe
Did you know that the oldest surviving work in Latin prose is the ancient Roman statesman Marcus Porcius Cato's De agri cultura, On Agriculture? That would be just over 2,100 years old. In it we find a real jewel, a recipe for cheesecake! Continue reading.
The Art of Gelato in Italy
If it’s a scorching, humid 95 degrees and you are in Rome, what are you to do? You have one option, really, and that’s to pick up a gelato at the nearest gelateria. It’s practically medicine. Thanks are due once again to the Italians, they perfected the art of gelato. Continue reading.
Nello's Guide to Italian Coffee
No Question, Italians Love Their Coffee Some argue that the Enlightenment took place in eighteenth-century Europe because, simply, that's when coffee houses first opened. What does that make the Enlightenment? Just one major caffeine buzz. Continue reading.
Four Italian Appetizer Ideas
Want to start your meal in a truly authentic Italian way? Then take a look at this piece that details four simple ways you can really start your meal to impress. Continue reading.
Nello's Guide to Four Italian Cheeses
In Italy you will undoubtedly find thousands of types of cheeses. Here's a little piece featuring four famous Italian cheeses: Fontina, Mozzarella di Bufala, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and Pecorino. Continue reading.
Homemade Bread from Scratch Recipe
Making bread at home isn't hard, it simply takes a bit of time. If you have a lazy day at home, why not give it a try. You'll be pleasantly surprised with the result if you follow this recipe in ten steps. Continue reading.
Three Italian First Courses
Enjoy a delicious, creamy risotto? How about a spicy pasta puttanesca? Maybe wish to cook a broth-based pasta dish? Then enjoy this piece, recipes and stories included. Continue reading.